1. Would leaving the care of a Children’s Aid Society be considered leaving an institution?

Yes

2. What are the percentage breakdowns for each priority group in relation to the funding?

This RFP has a target of providing 20% of the funding allocation to Indigenous agencies. The 20% target is an overall Home for Good target and so the funding may be more or less than 20% for each individual RFP.

3. How is the City addressing distinct racialized groups that require additional funding for services in order to meet increased need for these populations? Include any and all information related to the basis of your proposal.

Proposals will be assessed based on all supporting material that indicates the need and service gap the program addresses. You must serve one or more of the priority populations identified (chronic homeless, Indigenous homeless, youth homeless or people leaving an institution to no fixed address); additionally, your program will also be assessed based on provision of a program to an underserved demographic or a program that addresses a current identified gap in services. All documentation that supports the need for your proposed program is relevant and will be assessed accordingly.

4. Is the decision to have $600 subsidies a decision made by SSHA or the province?

The subsidy amount was been determined by SSHA and had been raised from the original subsidy of $400.00.

5. Can there be an increase in the housing subsidy amount beyond $600?

The subsidy amount is currently being reviewed for all Home For Good programs and any decision to raise this amount will be communicated to all affected agencies and programs.

6. Why does there have to be a competitive process for funding? Why can’t we in the non-profit sector work together to identify the need and address it through working together instead of competing blindly for funding?

A competitive process is required according to City of Toronto standards to ensure transparency and accountability regarding funding of agencies. While all grants are awarded through a contract to one agency, we encourage the development of partnerships within and across different sectors. Agencies are able to create partnerships and submit a joint application (with one lead agency) if they wish.

7. Can you clarify what you mean by new units?

We are referring to housing which is not currently occupied, and is therefore available to provide a housing with supports opportunity to someone currently experiencing homelessness.

8. Could the rent supplement be used for someone whose rent is too high currently?

Current tenants can only be included in this program if they are documented as at high-risk of returning to homelessness without the supports and rent supplement of this program. Indicators of eligibility for current tenants might include eviction notices, repeated hospital visits, extreme clean requirements, documented pest control issues that threaten housing, etc.

9. Does the rent supplement get attached to the person or the unit?

The rent supplement is attached to the person participating in the program, and in some cases may be assigned to a particular unit. The rent supplement will be paid to the agency who is then responsible to pay to the landlord. While the rent supplement is attached to a particular unit, if the tenant wishes to move, the agency can transfer the rent supplement to a different unit. Details of your program model should be provided in your proposal.

10. Would we have to enter into head leases in order to use the rent supplements?

Agencies may apply the rent supplements to any household that is not currently residing in a Rent-Geared-To-Income unit or in receipt of a Housing Allowance. Market rent units may be secured through a head lease or other arrangement with a private landlord, partnership with a Housing Provider or any other innovative option that results in access to housing units.

11. What is the minimum funding request that can be asked?

There is no minimum amount required of each application

12. Is there a way to include in the budget money that would go to partner agencies providing a service as part of our proposal?

Yes. Costs that would be covered by a partner agency can be included in the budget and should be clearly identified as being provided by a partner agency. Where staffing costs are being shared, indicate in the staffing worksheet which positions sit with which agencies. All partnership proposals should clearly indicate the partnership and include supportive documentation from each agency.

13. We have a revolving door of people with mental health issues that we aren’t able to support that will wind up homeless again. How do we put that forward for funding consideration?

Tenants currently housed and at-risk of returning to homelessness can be included in this RFP only if there is clear documentation indicating their risk of homelessness. This funding is not meant to apply to individuals currently housed, however with clear documentation regarding the threat of eviction housed clients may be deemed eligible.

14. Since funding ends in 2020, should we include how the program would end?

This funding is confirmed until March 31, 2020 and while we are hopeful that the province will continue funding the program beyond this date, at this point in time this is all the information available. City Council has requested that the Province provide written confirmation of ongoing funding beyond 2020. We will be assessing an agency’s ability to scale the proposed program up or down and this information may inform the necessity to wind-down programs or assist with allocating any additional funds that become available. If your agency has a plan to transfer or augment the funding of this program to another source, please include that information in your proposal.

15. What is the allowable time frame for those exiting an institution to access funding? 1 month? 1 year? 10 years?

The eligibility criteria for those exiting institutions are still in development. If your agency has an existing definition, or you would like to propose one, please include it in your proposal. Keep in mind that this funding is aimed at eliminating homelessness by 2025 and that proposals must clearly indicate the impact on current homelessness.
People leaving institutions have been identified as a priority group based on research that indicates the additional vulnerabilities of people with histories of incarceration, hospitalization or guardianship care. This funding is not meant for individuals who do not require supports and rent assistance to remain stable in housing.

Further work will be done at SSHA, and in consultation with successful proponents to determine eligibility criteria for the length of time since exiting an institution and the definition will be applied to all households being referred through the SSHA Co-ordinated Access System.

16. We have seen an increase in people with developmental difficulties coming into shelter following the loss of caregivers. Would they be considered leaving an institution if they have lived with family their entire lives and have now ended up entering homelessness?

Unfortunately, these individuals would not qualify as leaving an institution but may qualify if they have resided in a shelter for six months or more. We encourage agencies who are working with this client group to connect with other funding sources, such as Disability Services Ontario, to determine eligibility for alternative sources of funding and support.

17. Is the City providing Housing Allowances to agencies to administer themselves?

This RFP includes the option for proposals to include programming as well as a Fixed Rate Rent Supplement. These are different from Housing Allowances in that each agency will be assigned a number of Rent Supplements according to the application proposal. Agencies will be expected to pay landlords the rent supplement amount on behalf of the clients who are housed and to report the rent supplement distribution to the City. Initial eligibility will be determined by the SSHA Co-ordinated Access System and agencies will be expected to confirm eligibility annually.

18. What is the difference between Housing Allowances and Fixed Rate Rent Supplements?

Housing Allowances are applied for and provided directly to individuals. Fixed Rate Rent Supplements, for the purposes of this funding agreement, will be assigned to the agency. In some cases, rent supplements are assigned to specific housing units.

19. If we are successful in receiving Housing subsidies, does the agency receive a pot of money or is it administered through the province monthly?

The agency would receive the first year of rent subsidies according to the take-up plan outlined in the application. For example, if the application identifies housing 20 clients annually with rent supplements and supports, the first year will paid according to the move-in schedule provided, for example five new move-ins each quarter paid as $9,000.00 for Q1, $18,000.00 for Q2, $27,000 for Q3 and $36,000 for Q4 and each subsequent quarter. You will be required to reconcile subsidies received to the number of subsidies paid to landlords for occupied units annually. There will be an accommodation for a vacancy rate when a client moves out, but the emphasis will be to ensure maximum use of the subsidies and available housing.

20. Are there any limitations to using the subsidies to make building repairs or updates?

Fixed Rate Rent Supplements are for rent payments only. They cannot be used for any other reason. Any other related costs should be included with your programming budget, and outlined in detail in the program section.

21. Can the housing subsidies be used for custodial costs?

No. These costs should be included in your program budget and staffing complement.

22. Can we use support services dollars towards unit repairs in the case of clients damaging the unit?

Yes. Unit maintenance and upkeep are eligible costs, particularly if such costs are required to ensure that a client remains housed or to prepare a unit after a client has moved out.

23. Can arrears be included in the budget?

No. The rent subsidy can only be used to assist with the monthly rent costs for clients of the program. When applicable, you can include first and last month rent costs for each newly moved in client.

24. Is the expectation that we would be referring into the Coordinated Access System for tracking and reporting?

Co-ordinated Access will assist in referring clients, processing eligibility and, where you are approved for alternate referral sources, documenting client data. You will be responsible for quarterly client level data reporting. Please see the client level data report.

25. What is Coordinated Access?

A Coordinated Access System is a consistent approach to connecting people experiencing homelessness to housing and supports, resulting in better housing outcomes and reduced homelessness. Based on best practices, communities across North America are implementing Coordinated Access Systems (also known as Coordinated Entry and Assessment) to connect people experiencing homelessness with housing and supports efficiently and effectively. It is different than a Housing Access system generally, as it is specific to people experiencing homelessness who require supports to maintain housing. A Coordinated Access System works with housing with support providers to determine when units are available, the level and type of support offered in that unit, and any tenant eligibility criteria that need to be met. Through the maintenance of a registry of housing units and opportunities, the Coordinated Access System (via a centralized team) are able to connect an available housing opportunity to the highest priority client eligible for that unit. The centralized team will work with both housing providers and the homelessness system to make appropriate connections between housing opportunities and homeless clients. The Coordinated Access to Housing Supports pilot has been underway for more than a year. Based on the learning from the pilot, further implementation of the Coordinated Access System is planned.

25. Are federal prisons included in the “Leaving an Institution” category?

The eligibility criteria for the ‘Leaving an Institution’ category are still in development.

26. Can agencies that focus on high needs clients with a smaller staff to client ratio be successful in this RFP?

Yes. We understand that clients with more complex needs will require more resources to remain stable in housing. Where possible agencies should supply as much information as possible on their clients, typical associated costs, staff to client ratios, and other relevant information.

27. Can innovative technology be included as an eligible expense?

The proposed program and program budget should include the costs that are relevant to the program. All expenditures should be described thoroughly in the proposal and be relevant to the program model. The budget should include details relevant to the expenditures; for instance, if cell phones are included there should be a description in the program model as to who needs access to a cell phone and why and the calculation: 3 staff cell phones x $60/month/plan x 12 months = $18,360.00

28. What disqualifies an agency from participating in this RFP?

Agencies must be based in Toronto, serving individuals in Toronto and be in good standing with the City of Toronto.

29. Does an agency need to be accredited in order to apply for this RFP?

No.

30. How soon would an agency have to provide units?

Each agency application should identify the take-up plan for the program as well as the total number of clients that will be served annually. For instance, an application may identify 20 clients to be supported annually and during the first year of operation five clients will be housed each quarter.

31. Are you expecting any further RFPs in the next 12 months for this funding?

There are no additional RFP’s currently scheduled for 2018. SSHA will continue monitoring ongoing take-up and adjusting funding opportunities as required to ensure full us of funding

32. Is it possible for Indigenous agencies to receive more than 20% of the funding?

Yes. Indigenous proposals will be assessed within each program area and then the entire allocation will be reviewed if there are gaps or funding remains unallocated.

33. Could existing programs work with proposed programs within one agency, for instance can an agency funded for Follow-up Services apply for additional supports as well as rent subsidies through this RFP?

Yes. Co-ordination and partnering of programs is encouraged to maximize programming opportunities.

34. Could proposals cover vulnerable families who need to move out of their current unit in order to increase supports and live in safer housing?

Proposals that include working with existing tenants will have to ensure an appropriate level of documentation is maintained to establish eligibility. Any existing tenants must originally come from one of the four priority groups.

35. When will final allocations be decided and is there an opportunity for changes in funding that is available?

Allocations for this RFP are expected to commence July 1 and agencies will be notified in June. SSHA will monitor and assess the full take-up of Home For Good funding to ensure full use of funds.

36. What does Purchased Services mean?

Purchased services would include any program or product that you need to purchase for the operationalization of the proposed program. This may include purchases of services such as pest control and may also include purchases of services from community non-profit partners.

37. Can agencies partner with other agencies and include funding to both agencies in the budget?

Yes. Partnerships are encouraged and should be clearly identified in the proposal with supporting letters. If successful, the agreement will be with one agency that will be required to manage financial reporting requirements. When an application includes a partnership where the applicant is not the agency providing the services, as much information should be provided on the partner agency providing supports and services.

If clients are receiving health supports through another source or partner agency, can this funding include the case management costs related to co-ordinating supports for clients?
Yes, case management costs can be included in this proposal, but there can be no costs specifically assigned to clinical supports. Funding may be included for a clinical agency to participate in case management, providing that the funding is not covering primary health care.

38. Can people on OW or ODSP be included in this program?

es. Eligible clients will be assessed for access to the housing subsidy based on their level of income, which would include OW or ODSP.

39. When figuring out if a client meets the definition of Chronic Homelessness, where are the actual parameters? For instance, if someone has been homeless for approximately 5 months three times over the last four years, are they considered chronic? How should multiple episodes of homelessness be considered to establish chronic?

The current definition of chronic homelessness used by the Coordinated Access to Housing Supports pilot is 6 months of consecutive absolute homelessness (outdoors, shelter or respite site use) with a break of no more than 30 days. The definition and eligibility may be further refined as the program is implemented.

40. Is Transitional housing eligible under this RFP?

The intent of this RFP is to support programs that stabilize housing for people in permanent housing who have previously experienced homelessness. Transitional programs may support stabilization but there must also be a component that ensures clients move from transitional into permanent housing.

41. Do we need to address what will happen with the project / initiative after March 2020? Is it ok if the proposal is positioned as a temporary project? In other words, once the funding runs out, the initiative would be over?

Proposing a pilot is acceptable but should include capacity to continue or replicate if successful. We are not requesting that proposals include a wind-down effective March 31, 2020

42. Is the information session slide deck going to be emailed to attendees?

Yes a summary version of the slide deck is posted on the website

43. There was a slide in the presentation that showed the ratios of staff/clients but there were no categories, only one list for adults, and one for youth. Can you please include some clarity about the ratios (i.e. is this ratio per month, year etc., and what are the categories referenced i.e. basic cases, complex cases, mental health etc.).

a. Staffing Levels
b. Standard Youth
c. 1:25-30 1:20-25
d. 1:20 1:15
e. 1:10 1:7
f. 1:8 1:6
The staffing levels are suggested as caseload guidelines. This refers to the total number of clients that each staff person would support at a given time. For instance, if your proposal includes supporting clients with complex needs, you would include a staffing complement that is based on 8-10 clients per case management staff (i.e. 2 staff to support 20 clients, or 3 staff to support 24 clients. If your proposal if for more moderate needs, you would include a staffing complement that is based on 20-30 clients per case management staff). You may also want to provide a range of support levels to respond to different client needs or changing needs over time. If the proposal is for permanent housing, the number of clients supported annually would only be higher if there is unit turn over because a client has been discharged from the program and a new client enrolled.

44. If the agency is not a housing provider, but works with landlords to provide housing, can we apply for subsidies for units for these landlords as part of our application?

Yes. Housing must be affordable for clients either with or without a subsidy. You should include Fixed Rate Rent Supplements into your proposal in this case.

45. If one of the activities is offering subsidies for units, will those subsidies continue for the clients (based on their remaining eligible) once the funding term has ended?

The funding for this program includes both supports and rent supplements and any changes to the funding will impact both areas. As of now the Home for Good funding agreement between the Province and the City extends to March 2020 and there can be no commitments made to extend any parts of the program beyond this date.

46. Is it ok to use a portion of the funds to support community-based research in our catchment area addressing housing availability and housing needs? We are hoping to do a housing inventory and a landlord engagement survey.

The activities of the proposal need to support the goals of the program which may include assessments of relevant resources as one component to support the end goal of establishing and supporting clients in permanent and stable housing. The primary objective of this funding is to provide direct service delivery to clients. Research and evaluation costs should not represent a significant percentage of the total budget.