2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
State Office on Homelessness; Council on Homelessness.
State Office on Homelessness; Council on Homelessness.
420.622 State Office on Homelessness; Council on Homelessness.—
(1) The State Office on Homelessness is created within the Department of Children and Families to provide interagency, council, and other related coordination on issues relating to homelessness.
(2) The Council on Homelessness is created to consist of 19 representatives of public and private agencies who shall develop policy and advise the State Office on Homelessness. The council members shall be: the Secretary of Children and Families, or his or her designee; the Secretary of Economic Opportunity, or his or her designee, who shall advise the council on issues related to rural development; the State Surgeon General, or his or her designee; the Executive Director of Veterans’ Affairs, or his or her designee; the Secretary of Corrections, or his or her designee; the Secretary of Health Care Administration, or his or her designee; the Commissioner of Education, or his or her designee; the Executive Director of CareerSource Florida, Inc., or his or her designee; one representative of the Florida Association of Counties; one representative of the Florida League of Cities; one representative of the Florida Supportive Housing Coalition; one representative of the Florida Housing Coalition; the Executive Director of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, or his or her designee; one representative of the Florida Coalition for the Homeless; the secretary of the Department of Elder Affairs, or his or her designee; and four members appointed by the Governor. The council members shall be nonpaid volunteers and shall be reimbursed only for travel expenses. The appointed members of the council shall be appointed to staggered 2-year terms and are encouraged to have experience in the administration or provision of resources, services, or housing that addresses the needs of persons experiencing homelessness. The council shall meet at least four times per year. The importance of minority, gender, and geographic representation shall be considered in appointing members to the council.
(3) The State Office on Homelessness, pursuant to the policies set by the council and subject to the availability of funding, shall:
(a) Coordinate among state, local, and private agencies and providers to produce a statewide consolidated inventory for the state’s entire system of homeless programs which incorporates local continuum of care plans. Such programs include, but are not limited to:
1. Programs authorized under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, as amended by the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009, 42 U.S.C. ss. 11302 et seq., and carried out under funds awarded to this state; and
2. Programs, components thereof, or activities that assist persons who are homeless or at risk for homelessness.
(b) Collect, maintain, and make available information concerning persons who are homeless, including summary demographics information drawn from the local continuum of care Homeless Management Information System or the annual Point-in-Time Count, and the local continuum of care Housing Inventory Chart required by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. All entities that receive state funding must provide summary aggregated data, with no individual identifying information, to assist the council in providing this information. The State Office on Homelessness, in consultation with the designated lead agencies for a continuum of care and with the Council on Homelessness, shall develop a process by which summary data is collected from all continuum of care lead agencies for the purpose of analyzing trends and assessing impacts in the system for delivering services to the homeless.
(c) Annually evaluate state and continuum of care system programs and develop a consolidated plan for addressing the needs of the homeless or those at risk for homelessness.
(d) Explore, compile, and disseminate information regarding public and private funding sources for state and local programs serving the homeless and provide technical assistance in applying for such funding.
(e) Monitor and provide recommendations for coordinating the activities and programs of continuums of care and promote the effectiveness of programs to prevent and end homelessness in the state.
(f) Provide technical assistance to facilitate efforts to support and strengthen continuums of care.
(g) Develop and assist in the coordination of policies and procedures relating to the discharge or transfer from the care or custody of state-supported or state-regulated entities persons who are homeless or at risk for homelessness.
(h) Spearhead outreach efforts for maximizing access by people who are homeless or at risk for homelessness to state and federal programs and resources.
(i) Promote a federal policy agenda that is responsive to the needs of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in this state.
(j) Review reports on continuum of care system performance measures and use such measures to evaluate program effectiveness and make recommendations for improving current practices to work toward ending homelessness in this state.
(k) Formulate policies and legislative proposals aimed at preventing and ending homelessness in this state and coordinate the implementation of state and federal legislative policies.
(l) Convene meetings and workshops of state and local agencies, continuums of care, and other stakeholders for the purpose of developing and reviewing policies, services, activities, coordination, and funding of efforts to end homelessness.
(m) With the input of the continuums of care, conduct or promote research on the effectiveness of current programs and propose pilot projects aimed at ending homelessness.
(n) Serve as an advocate for issues relating to homelessness.
(o) Investigate ways to improve access to participation in state funding and other programs for the prevention and reduction of homelessness to faith-based organizations and collaborate and coordinate with faith-based organizations.
(4) The State Office on Homelessness shall accept and administer moneys appropriated to it to provide annual challenge grants to lead agencies of continuums of care designated by the State Office on Homelessness under s. 420.6225. The department shall establish varying levels of grant awards up to $750,000 per continuum of care lead agency. The department, in consultation with the Council on Homelessness, shall specify a grant award level in the notice of the solicitation of grant applications.
(a) To qualify for the grant, a continuum of care lead agency must develop and implement a local continuum of care plan for its designated catchment area. The services and housing funded through the grant must be implemented through the continuum of care’s coordinated entry system as provided in s. 420.6225(5)(b) and must be designed to assess and refer persons seeking assistance to the appropriate housing intervention and service provider. The continuum of care lead agency shall also document the commitment of local government or private organizations to provide matching funds or in-kind support in an amount equal to 25 percent of the grant requested. Expenditures of leveraged funds or resources, including third-party cash or in-kind contributions, are authorized only for eligible activities carried out in connection with a project in which such funds or resources have not been used as leverage or match for any other project or program. The expenditures must be certified through a written commitment.
(b) Preference must be given to those continuum of care lead agencies that have demonstrated the ability of their continuum of care to help households move out of homelessness.
(c) The grant may be used to fund any of the housing, program, or service needs included in the local continuum of care plan. The continuum of care lead agency may allocate the grant to programs, services, or housing providers that implement the local continuum of care plan. The continuum of care lead agency may provide subgrants to a local agency to implement programs or services or provide housing identified for funding in the continuum of care lead agency’s application to the department. A continuum of care lead agency may spend a maximum of 10 percent of its funding on administrative costs.
(d) The continuum of care lead agency shall submit a final report to the department documenting the outcomes achieved by the grant-funded programs in enabling persons who are homeless to return to permanent housing, thereby ending such person’s episode of homelessness.
(5) The State Office on Homelessness may administer moneys given to it to provide homeless housing assistance grants annually to continuum of care lead agencies recognized by the State Office on Homelessness to acquire, construct, or rehabilitate permanent housing units for homeless persons. These moneys shall consist of any sums that the state may appropriate, as well as money received from donations, gifts, bequests, or any other public or private source, which are intended to acquire, construct, or rehabilitate permanent housing units for homeless persons.
(a) Grant applicants shall be ranked competitively based on criteria that include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
1. The ability of the continuum of care to provide quality services.
2. The ability of the continuum of care to leverage federal homeless assistance and private funding.
3. The extent of the need for providing housing and services to individuals experiencing homelessness in a continuum of care’s planning areas relative to the population of the counties served.
4. The effectiveness of the continuum of care in keeping families housed.
(b) Funding for any particular project may not exceed $750,000.
(c) Projects must reserve, for a minimum of 20 years, the number of units acquired, constructed, or rehabilitated through homeless housing assistance grant funding to serve persons who are homeless at the time they assume tenancy.
(d) No more than two grants may be awarded annually in any given continuum of care catchment area.
(e) A project may not be funded which is not included in the local continuum of care plan, as recognized by the State Office on Homelessness, for the catchment area in which the project is located.
(f) The maximum percentage of funds that the State Office on Homelessness and each applicant may spend on administrative costs is 10 percent.
(6) The State Office on Homelessness, in conjunction with the Council on Homelessness, shall establish performance measures related to state funding provided through the State Office on Homelessness and use those grant-related measures to evaluate the performance and outcomes of continuum of care lead agencies that receive state grant funds.
(7) The State Office on Homelessness must monitor the challenge grants and homeless housing assistance grants to ensure proper expenditure of funds and compliance with the conditions of the applicant’s contract.
(8) The Department of Children and Families, with input from the Council on Homelessness, may adopt rules relating to the challenge grants and the homeless housing assistance grants and related issues consistent with the purposes of this section.
(9) The Council on Homelessness shall, by June 30 of each year, provide to the Governor, the Legislature, and the Secretary of Children and Families a report summarizing the extent of homelessness in the state and the council’s recommendations for ending homelessness in this state.
(10) The State Office on Homelessness may administer moneys appropriated to it for distribution among the continuum of care lead agencies and entities funded in the 2018-2019 state fiscal year which are designated by the office as local coalitions for the homeless.
History.—s. 10, ch. 2001-98; s. 60, ch. 2008-6; s. 24, ch. 2009-96; s. 3, ch. 2009-164; s. 137, ch. 2010-102; s. 10, ch. 2011-15; s. 336, ch. 2011-142; s. 4, ch. 2012-84; s. 5, ch. 2013-74; s. 107, ch. 2014-17; s. 239, ch. 2014-19; s. 2, ch. 2014-214; s. 23, ch. 2015-98; s. 5, ch. 2016-210; s. 36, ch. 2020-30; s. 2, ch. 2020-44; s. 48, ch. 2021-25.