The Emergency Solutions Grant provides funding for emergency services to individuals and families who are homeless or facing homelessness. Funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ESS’ Office on Homelessness. On January 14, 2020, Governor DeSantis announced that Florida received an additional $85.8M in CARES Act funding to support individuals experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness due to financial setbacks resulting from COVID-19 through the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG-CV).
ESG-CV funds are used to provide rental assistance and case management, support emergency shelters, and conduct street outreach programs to connect unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness with local housing and other essential services. DCF coordinates funding for homeless assistance through a statewide network of lead agencies, called Continuums of Care, who subcontract with other community partners to fund the direct services provided to the homeless population. Find your Local Continuum of Care.
DCF aligns with HUD in that one of the most effective approaches to supporting individuals to either remain in permanent housing or move out of homelessness is by increasing access to sustainable job training and employment. This requires utilizing a community approach to address barriers to self-sufficiency and employment, including housing instability, job training needs, and lack of childcare and/or transportation. To address housing instability, DCF has adopted the following goals using the funds allocated through ESG-CV:
- Ensuring those sheltered during COVID-19 do not return to the streets by focusing on the rapid rehousing of individuals and families currently in emergency shelters, temporary shelters, or who are unsheltered;
- Employing targeted homeless prevention services by utilizing risk assessment tools to identify those most at risk of homelessness;
- Utilizing homeless diversion strategies to reduce emergency shelter utilization by working with individuals and families as they enter the coordinated entry process to determine if there are family, friends, or other community services that could be a resource for housing stability;
- Integrating racial equity planning considerations in the implementation and use of ESG-CV resources to help communities understand who is accessing their homeless system and what outcomes those individuals and families have achieved; and
- Increasing collaboration efforts to address the needs of special populations by teaming up with other entities and prioritizing households with children based on risks, including childhood abuse, domestic violence, etc., those experiencing chronic homelessness, youth experiencing homelessness, or current or past substance abuse, and households with substance-exposed newborns, persons with HIV or AIDS, and LGBTQ populations.