Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG)

Through the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH Act), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides annual allocations to Hidalgo County Urban County Program.  HUD provides national allocations of Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) funds in amounts determined by a formula using six community-based factors. For more on the ESG formula, see 24 CFR 576.3.

The ESG program provides the following assistance: Rapid Re-housing and Homeless Prevention services that contribute to short and/or medium-term rental assistance as necessary to help individuals or families regain housing stability. Emergency Shelter Essential Services for individuals and families in emergency shelter. Component services generally consist of case management, child care, education services, employment assistance and job training, outpatient health services, life skills training, mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, and transportation. Shelter Operations, including maintenance, rent, security, fuel, equipment, insurance, utilities, and furnishings.

Other eligible ESG components are: HMIS (Data Collections) funds may be used for Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and comparable database costs, as specified at 24 CFR 576.107. Administration Up to 7.5% of a recipient’s fiscal year grant can be used for administrative activities, such as general management, oversight, coordination, and reporting on the program.
The ESG program provides funding to:

•Improve the number and quality of emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families;
•Help operate these shelters/transitional facilities;
•Provide essential services to shelter/transitional program participants;
•Rapidly re-house homeless individuals and families; and
•Prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless.

Hidalgo County Urban County program has developed goals to guide the use of ESG funds in the County of Hidalgo. These priorities are based on HUD’s programmatic framework, as outlined on HUD's Homelessness Resource Exchange website in the HEARTH Act and the ESG Interim Rule.  Hidalgo County Urban County Program ESG goals are to:

1.Increase community wide planning and strategic use of resources to prevent and end homelessness.
2.To improve and enhance the quality of life for homeless individuals and their families
3.To assist at-risk and literally homeless individuals and their families reach housing stability.

Metropolitan city and urban county recipients must match grant funds with an equal amount of cash and/or noncash contributions, which may include donated buildings, materials and volunteer services. For the specific match requirements, see 24 CFR 576.201.

Eligible recipients apply through the Consolidated Planning process. Among other things, this process helps communities assess their homeless assistance and housing needs, examine available resources, set 3-5 year strategies, and develop an annual action plan to meet priority needs.

All grant funds must be expended within 24 months after HUD signs the grant agreement with the recipient. Further obligation and expenditure requirements are specified at 24 CFR 576.203.

Coordinated Entry Policies and Procedures

End homelessness is possible and is a goal for which we must strive. In many communities, ending homelessness will require making a shift from a set of homeless services that only alleviate the immediate crisis of homelessness to a housing crisis response system that prevents and ends it. An end to homelessness means that every community will have a systematic housing crisis response system in place that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible, or if it can’t be prevented, it is a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience.

Specifically, everyone community will have a system in place with the capacity to:

•Quickly identify and engage people at risk of and experiencing homelessness
•Intervene to prevent the loss of housing and divert people from entering the housing crisis response system
•When homelessness does occur, provide immediate access to shelter and crisis services, without barriers to entry, while permanent stable housing and appropriate supports are being secured, and quickly connect people to housing assistance and services – tailored to their unique needs and strengths – to help them achieve and maintain stable housing.

Coordinated Entry is a powerful piece of a housing crisis response system that ensures that people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness can readily find and navigate crisis intervention assistance. It is designed to ensure that households are prioritized for and matched with the right intervention as quickly as possible. It aims to standardize the access, assessment, and referral process across all providers in communities.

This document outlines the Policies and Procedures, or local standards, for the Coordinated Entry process in Hidalgo County.

For more information on this program, please call Hidalgo County - Urban County Program (UCP) at (956) 787-8127, or 1-866-613-5277.