The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it will make available $5 million for new Family Unification Program (FUP) voucher assistance for youth and families who lack safe and adequate housing. This funding opportunity will help strengthen coordination among public housing authorities (PHAs), public child welfare agencies (PCWAs), and Continuums of Care (CoCs) and increase access to supportive services for those who need them.
“This Notice of Funding Opportunity will help strengthen states and localities’ ability to care for families, youth, and individuals with no place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “At HUD, we know that housing is critical in ending homelessness, and this funding opportunity helps us continue our mission of getting people into more permanent and stable housing. In addition, this funding will allow PHAs to effectively administer the Family Unification Program for youth and families who need it.”
FUP is a program through which PHAs that partner with PCWAs and CoCs provide Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) assistance to two groups:
- Families for whom the lack of adequate housing is a primary factor in the imminent placement of the family’s child, or children, in out-of-home care; or the delay in the discharge of the child, or children, to the family from out-of-home care; and
- Youth at least 18 years and not more than 24 years of age (have not reached their 25th birthday) who left foster care, or will leave foster care within 90 days, in accordance with a transition plan described in Section 475(5)(H) of the Social Security Act, and are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless at age 16 or older.
PHAs administer the FUP in partnership with PCWAs who are responsible for referring FUP families and youths to the PHA for determination of eligibility for rental assistance. Once the PCWA makes the referral the PHA places the FUP applicant on its waiting list, determines whether the family or youth meets HCV program eligibility requirements, and conducts all other processes relating to voucher issuance and administration.
There is no time limit on FUP vouchers issued to families. FUP vouchers issued to youth are limited to 36 months unless the youth meets the requirements to receive an extension of their voucher assistance under the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities (FSHO) amendments. Under FSHO, FUP youth may receive up to an additional 24 months of voucher assistance if they meet certain requirements. In addition to rental assistance, supportive services must be provided or secured by the PCWA to FUP youths for 36 months; examples of the skills targeted by these services include money management skills, job preparation, educational counseling, and proper nutrition and meal preparation.