VA secretary Dr. David Shulkin recently announced an extension of funding to organizations that applied for Fiscal Year 2018 grants under VA’s Homeless Providers’ Grant and Per Diem Program (GPD), but would be found ineligible due to new program guidelines. The extension will give those organizations a chance to improve the effectiveness of their programs and an opportunity to apply for funding under an upcoming “notice of funding availability, also called a NOFA.”
The year-long extension gives the organizations an opportunity to adjust their program to meet the current needs of Veterans who are homeless or on the brink of it.
The GPD program provides nonprofit organizations, state and local government agencies and tribal governments with the resources they need to develop and sustain supportive programs and/or services that help homeless Veterans find stable housing, gain skills to increase their income and gain independence.
In a move to modernize the program, late last year, VA announced to grantees along with issuing a Federal Register notice in December 2016 to announce the end of per diem payments for grantees who received awards under a transitional housing program in fiscal years 1994 to 2016. Rather than simply providing beds, the program’s aim now is to encourage independence.
Not only is VA changing the way it operates the program, it also is showing organizations how they compare with their peers. VA will soon launch a webpage so applicants can review their score online in relation to the scores of all other applications.
We heard that some organizations were not able to fully modernize their programs and, as a result, their applications were not selected for a grant award.. The last thing we want is for Veterans served by those organizations left without a place to turn.
Secretary Shulkin made the decision to give organizations that were not selected another chance to serve Veterans. The reprieve, as some have called it, gives the programs an extra year to tailor their services to the needs of Veterans who are homeless or near homeless.
Making sure that Veterans who unselfishly served our nation have a place to call home is the life’s work for our Homeless Programs team. It is a commitment we all share at VA.