Strategic Action Plan on Homelessness. HHS Targeted Homelessness Programs


Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals (GBHI)


(also referred to as Treatment for Homeless)

The Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals (GBHI) program enables communities to expand and strengthen their treatment services for homeless individuals with substance abuse disorders, mental illness, or with co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental illness.  Eligible applicants are community-based public and private nonprofit entities.  Since the inception of the Treatment for Homeless program, over 10,000 persons have received grant-supported services.  As of October 2006, there were 91 active GBHI grants.

Programs and activities include: (1) substance abuse treatment; (2) mental health services; (3) immediate entry to treatment; (4) wrap-around services; (5) outreach services; (6) screening and diagnostic treatment services; (7) staff training; (8) case management services; (9) supportive and supervisory services in outpatient and residential settings; and (10) referrals for primary health services, job training, educational services, and relevant housing services.

Funds may not be used to: (1) pay for housing (other than residential substance abuse treatment and/or residential mental health programs); (2) carry out syringe exchange programs; and (3) pay for pharmacologies for HIV antiretroviral therapy, STDs, TB and hepatitis B and C services. 

Health Care for the Homeless (HCH)

The purpose of the Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) program operated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is to provide primary health care, substance abuse treatment, emergency care with referrals to hospitals for in-patient care services and/or other needed services, and outreach services to assist difficult-to-reach homeless persons in accessing care, and provide assistance in establishing eligibility for entitlement programs and housing.   

Eligible grant recipients include private nonprofit and public entities.  Eligible recipients of services include persons who are literally homeless, as well as those who are living in transitional housing arrangements.  Services provided include primary health care, substance abuse, mental health, and oral health services; extensive outreach and engagement; extensive case management services; and assistance with accessing public benefits, housing, job training, etc.  HCH works within guidelines for the Community Health Center (Health Center) program.  Health centers serve all residents in their catchment area, regardless of ability to pay.  Health Centers serve homeless individuals as appropriate, therefore, Centers located in communities that do not have HCH programs may serve persons who are homeless.  Approximately 650,000 persons are served annually by HCH program grantees.

Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH)

PATH is a formula grant program operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide financial assistance to states to support services for homeless individuals who have serious mental illness or serious mental illness and substance abuse.  The formula allots funds on the basis of the population living in urbanized areas of the state, compared to the population living in urbanized areas of the entire United States, except that no state receives less than $300,000 ($50,000 for territories).  States must agree to make available nonfederal contributions equal to not less than $1 (in cash or in kind) for each $3 of Federal funds provided in such grant.  Territories have no matching requirements.  Not more than 20 percent of the payment may be expended for housing services.

Eligible programs and activities include: (1) outreach services; (2) screening and diagnostic treatment services; (3) habilitation and rehabilitation services; (4) community mental health services; (5) alcohol or drug treatment services; (6) staff training; (7) case management services; (8) supportive and supervisory services in residential settings; (9) referrals for primary health services, job training, educational services, and relevant housing services; and (10) a prescribed set of housing services.

According to the latest available data, state-funded community based agencies used FY 2003 allocations to provide PATH eligible services to 86,000 enrolled persons.  Persons served were among the most severely disabled.  Thirty-six percent of clients had schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders; 59% of persons served had a co-occurring substance use disorder in addition to a serious mental illness; and almost 69% of clients served were living on the street or in emergency shelters. 

Programs for Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY)

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) funds 669 public, community and faith-based programs through three grant programs that serve the runaway and homeless youth population.  Ninety percent of grant dollars awarded are used for preventive activities, and/or housing activities for youth who are at-risk of experiencing homelessness or are already in a homeless situation, and ten percent of funds are used for support services.

Eligible applicants for the Basic Center and Transitional Living Programs are states, units of local government, a combination of units of local government, and public or private nonprofit agencies, organizations or institutions.  Federally recognized Indian Tribes, Indian Tribes that are not federally recognized and urban Indian organizations are also eligible.  Eligible applicants for the Street Outreach Program include any private, nonprofit agency, non-federally recognized Indian Tribes and urban Indian organizations. 

  1. Basic Center Program
    The purpose of the Basic Center Program is to establish or strengthen locally-controlled, community and faith-based programs that address the immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth and their families.  Basic Centers provide youth with temporary emergency shelter, food, clothing, and referrals for health care.  Other types of assistance provided to youth and their families may include individual, group, and family counseling; recreation programs; and aftercare services for youth once they leave the shelter.  Grants can also be used for outreach activities targeting youth who may need assistance.  Basic Centers seek to reunite young people with their families when possible, or to locate appropriate alternative placements.
  2. Transitional Living Program
    The purpose of the Transitional Living Program is to provide shelter, skills training, and support services to youth, ages 16 through 21, who are homeless, for a continuous period, generally not exceeding 18 months.  Youth who have not reached the age of 18 years during an 18 month stay may remain in the program for an additional 180 days or until their 18th birthday, whichever comes first.

    Youth are provided with stable, safe living accommodations and services that help them develop the skills necessary to move to independence.  Living accommodations may be host family homes, group homes, including maternity group homes, or supervised apartments.  Skills training and support services provided include: basic life-skills and interpersonal skill building; educational opportunities (vocational and GED preparation); job placement; career counseling; and mental health, substance abuse, and physical health care services.

  3. Street Outreach Program
    The purpose of the Street Outreach Program is to provide educational and prevention services to runaway, homeless and street youth who have been subject to, or are at risk of, sexual exploitation or abuse.  The program works to establish and build relationships between street youth and program outreach staff in order to help youth leave the streets.  Support services that will assist the youth in moving and adjusting to a safe and appropriate alternative living arrangement include:  treatment, counseling, information and referral services, individual assessment, crisis intervention, and follow up support.

    Street outreach programs must have access to local emergency shelter space that is an appropriate placement for young people and that can be made available for youth willing to come in off the streets. 

Title V Surplus Property Program

Title V of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Title V), authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make suitable federal properties categorized as excess or surplus available to representatives of persons experiencing homelessness as a permissible use in the protection of public health.  The purpose of the program is to provide federal surplus land and buildings to organizations which serve the needs of the homeless.  Eligible applicants are states and their political subdivisions and instrumentalities, and tax-supported and nonprofit institutions, which provide a broad array of services to the homeless.  Eligible activities include emergency and transitional housing and related services; substance abuse and mental health programs for homeless individuals; homeless ex-offender aftercare programs and miscellaneous other supportive homeless services.  A policy change that took effect in September of 2006 expands the allowable uses of surplus real property to include permanent supportive housing.  Currently, there are 80 active properties on which numerous services are provided to homeless individuals and/or families.  There are approximately 3,000 transitional housing beds and 800+ emergency housing beds being successfully operated by homeless assistance providers receiving properties pursuant to Title V of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

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