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- CoC Supplemental Funding Opportunity to Address Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness
- CoC Program Special NOFO Digest: Serving People Experiencing Homelessness in Rural Areas
July 29, 2022
On June 22, 2022, the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Supplemental Funding Opportunity to Address Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness (Special Notification of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)) was announced. This is a first-of-its-kind opportunity to address unsheltered homelessness and homeless encampments including funds set aside to address homelessness in rural communities.
Applications for the Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness NOFO must be submitted no later than October 20, 2022, at 8:00 PM EDT.
To support communities in developing their plans to address rural and unsheltered homelessness; existing Technical Assistance (TA) and other resources through a series of listserv messages.
One in five people experiencing unsheltered homelessness were identified in rural areas in the 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) Part 1 - Point-in-Time Count (PIT). Rural CoCs had the largest percentage of people experiencing homelessness in unsheltered locations, 44 percent, followed by major city CoCs, 39 percent.
Rural communities face challenges unique from urban and suburban communities. For example, rural areas have a disproportionate number of substandard housing relative to urban areas. This impacts the ability for agencies to use existing housing due to their substandard conditions.
In addition to housing challenges, rural communities have other barriers, such as:
Despite these challenges, rural communities continue to innovate to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness. Rural communities leverage partnerships and find ways to creatively use the limited housing stock available to them. For instance, when the capacity of street outreach providers is limited (either because dollars are limited or staffing levels are too low to cover such a large geographic area routinely), rural communities enlist the help of librarians, gas station owners, state and federal park rangers, and recreational clubs like snowmobile clubs to identify people experiencing homelessness and help them access critical services to move them from the streets or their vehicles to housing. Additionally, rather than building emergency shelters, rural communities leverage hotels and churches to address emergency shelter needs.
This Special NOFO includes a Rural Set Aside and gives rural communities an opportunity to continue their creative efforts. Projects that propose to serve rural areas through the Rural Set Aside may request the following additional eligible costs as part of their application (in addition to the costs allowed under the CoC Program):
These added costs give rural communities more flexibility to adapt their services to meet the unique needs of people experiencing homelessness, particularly those currently experiencing or with histories of unsheltered homelessness, in their rural communities.
The following resources provide further guidance for serving people experiencing homelessness in rural areas.
For additional resources, visit the CoC Program Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness NOFO page on the HUD Exchange.
For questions about the Special NOFO, please email SpecialCoCNOFO@hud.gov.