Housing Assistance and Supportive Services in Memphis. FUNDING AND COORDINATION

01/05/2013

As discussed in the introduction, this project was designed to answer five broad research questions about service provision in Memphis. We addressed two of these (questions 3 and 4) primarily through the focus groups. We addressed questions 1, 2, and 5 during the assessment phase and have summarized the results below.

1.       What federally funded services are available and provided to current and former recipients of HUD-assisted housing in Memphis?

To summarize the HHS funding streams that support services in Memphis, the research team reviewed available data from the Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System and USAspending.gov. The research team discovered that, while housing assistance recipients, particularly relocatees from MHA public housing, use a number of services and resources that come through federal programs (such as Medicaid), these resources almost never flow directly from the federal government. The bulk of funds flowing directly from HHS to municipal and county agencies or individual organizations (including universities and hospitals) go to medical research, particularly to research in the large Memphis-based children's hospital. Much HHS funding toward services is awarded to the state, which distributes this money down to the county or locality, and from there to individual service recipients. (A full list of direct HHS funding to entities in the City of Memphis or in Shelby County is available in the assessment memo.)

A large share of HOPE VI relocatees who receive housing assistance in Memphis also receive TANF. (Economic and demographic information for HOPE VI relocatees and HCV recipients are available in the assessment memorandum produced in the earlier stages of this project, included as appendix C of this brief). The report resulting from the focus groups further discusses HOPE VI relocatee service use. Because of the income requirements for housing assistance eligibility, we know that all MHA HOPE VI relocatees (who originally lived in public housing) and most of the current housing assistance recipients are income eligible for Medicaid. However, TANF and Medicaid funding is administered by the state and through local jurisdictions.

2.       What other types of services (local government, privately funded) are available to assist these former residents? Are these coordinated with the federally supported service system?

The research team was also able to address this question during the assessment phase. An extensive summary of local service efforts and strategies, compiled in the assessment memo, is included in appendix C. An earlier section of this document (“Service Landscape”) summarizes recent notable local, private and government service provision and anti-poverty efforts, many of which are new, ambitious, and neighborhood-based.

While coordination with federally funded services is a concern for Memphis (demonstrated by the enthusiasm with which the mayor's office has met the federal SC2 initiative) much new funding the city and its service providers have acquired runs independently of federally funded resources and has no clear, direct link to federal sources. In fact, as we found in the assessment phase, many new and long-standing local efforts, both private and public, run parallel. This includes the common silos seen in government and private service communities nationwide. For example, many MHA staff members have a specific contact at the Shelby County department of Health and Human Services, and vice versa, but there are no common procedures or processes or communication plans to make sure each agency is aware of relevant issues arising in its major counterparts. The assessment memo (Appendix C) addresses the key challenges of coordination in more detail.

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"Memphis Final Brief.pdf" (pdf, 717.21Kb)

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"Appendix A-Focus Group Materials.pdf" (pdf, 174.61Kb)

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"Appendix B-Maps.pdf" (pdf, 3.81Mb)

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"Appendix C-Assessment Memo.pdf" (pdf, 4.14Mb)

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