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File #: 2023-504   
Type: Administrative Item Status: Passed
In control: Board of Commissioners
On agenda: 11/21/2023 Final action: 11/21/2023
Title: Grant Agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Services Office of Economic Opportunity for Direct Emergency Services
Sponsors: Housing Stability
Attachments: 1. Minnesota Department of Human Services County Grant Agreement Direct Emergency Services, 2. Resolution

 

                                                                                                         

Sponsor: Housing Stability

 

Title

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Grant Agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Services Office of Economic Opportunity for Direct Emergency Services

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Recommendation

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1.                     Accept a grant award and approve the grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Services Office of Economic Opportunity, PO Box 64951, Saint Paul, MN, 55164 for Direct Emergency Services for the period of execution through June 30, 2025, in the amount of $2,248,000.

2.                     Authorize the Chair and Chief Clerk to execute the grant contract.

3.                     Authorize the County Manager to enter into agreements and execute amendments to agreements in accordance with the county’s procurement policies and procedures provided the amounts are within the limits of the grant funding.

4.                     Authorize the County Manager to enter into expenditure grant agreements and execute amendments to agreements in a form approved by Finance and the County Attorney’s Office provided the amounts of funding are within the limits of the approved expenditure grant agreement program budget.

5.                     Approve extension of ten Full Time Equivalent unclassified limited duration positions from December 31, 2024, through April 30, 2025.

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Background and Rationale

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In March of 2023, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) division, released a competitive solicitation entitled Emergency Services Program (ESP) for providers of Outreach, Drop-in Center/Day Shelter, Emergency Shelter, Scattered-Site, Transitional Housing, Rapid Re-Housing, Site-Based Transitional Housing, and/or Permanent Supportive Housing services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the state of Minnesota. The Housing Stability department (HSD) of Ramsey County applied for two categories of funding: Drop-in Center/Day Shelter, and Outreach and in July of 2023, was awarded $650,000 for the two programs.

 

Additionally, Ramsey County was appropriated funding directly from the Minnesota Legislature during the 2023 Legislative Session. The appropriated funds are designated for services and shelter for persons experiencing homelessness. To distinguish the legislatively directed funding from the OEO ESP funding, OEO has entitled this funding Direct Emergency Services (DES).

 

Drop-In Center/Day Shelter Program

HSD intends to expand the capacity of its winter warming spaces pilot program. In 2022, Ramsey County used one-time American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated by the state of Minnesota to launch a demonstration of a low barrier, warming centers program. Through the pilot, no one was barred from frequenting the warming spaces. HSD also allowed individuals to bring their personal items into the spaces, which meant HSD was able to serve a significant amount more of people who had been previously barred. The program accommodated over 10,000 warming center visits and provided over 10,000 individual rides to unsheltered individuals between December 1, 2022, and February 28, 2023.

 

Outreach Program

HSD will be implementing a new single-point-of-entry program. The program will be directed toward individuals seeking emergency shelter and will offer diversion and shelter reservation services. The program will be a centralized access point for emergency shelter, and will conduct intake assessments, offer diversion services for single adults (including adult youth, ages 18 to 24), and make shelter reservations for shelter spaces operated by participating providers. Utilization for both the warming centers and the shelter system will be tracked through the contracted Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).

 

In preparation for the seasonal warming centers, HSD is seeking permission to utilize the status of limited duration for positions as it did during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the warming center pilot, 15 limited duration and temporary positions (five through OEO/ESP funding, and ten through OEO/DES funding ) were dedicated to the warming centers.  For this grant funding, these same positions will be used during the winter of 2023 through spring of 2024, and winter of 2024 through the spring of 2025. The county will receive a total of $2,248,000 for the two programs, of which $224,800 (10%) will be retained by the Ramsey County Housing Stability department for administrative oversight, with the remaining $2,023,200 being dedicated toward the warming centers and single-point-of-entry projects. When executed, funds will be moved to a grant fund and will be allocated through the life of the grant (July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2025).

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County Goals (Check those advanced by Action)

       Well-being             Prosperity                 Opportunity                 Accountability

 

Racial Equity Impact

HSD is committed to serving unsheltered Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), as this is the largest population affected by homelessness in Ramsey County. Most recently, the department has brought on five new culturally specific organizations for the services of navigation, shelter, operations, and landlord engagement. The department also engages regularly with paid consultants in the areas of youth engagement, engagement with BIPOC communities, including American Indian and African American and LGTBQIAP2+.

 

Community Participation Level and Impact

In the fall of 2022, HSD conducted a series of listening sessions with unsheltered single persons and families. These conversations were held with individuals from several racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as individuals representing various sexual orientations. Through these conversations, the ‘low barrier’ concept for warming centers was developed. This idea allowed most everyone who visited or frequented the warming shelters not to be turned away based on any established organizational criteria or individually historical interactions. HSD has also incorporated the voices of two people with lived experience who are now a part of the Heading Home Ramsey (HHR) Systems Performance Management Workgroup, as well as the HSD Ranking Workgroup.

  Inform              Consult                                 Involve                      Collaborate        Empower                     

 

Fiscal Impact

The total grant award to be received is $2,248,000 from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2025.  The grant will fund 10 unclassified limited duration positions. $224,800 (10%) will be retained by the Ramsey County Housing Stability department for administrative oversight, with the remaining $2,023,200 being allocated toward the warming centers and single-point-of-entry projects. Funds will be moved to a grant fund and will be allocated through the life of the grant.

 

Last Previous Action

On October 10, 2023, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved a grant award and grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Services Office of Economic Opportunity for the Emergency Services Program in the amount of $650,000 (Resolution B2023-173).

 

On April 4, 2023, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved a grant award and grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Services Office of Economic Opportunity for Shelter Program in the amount of $677,700 (Resolution B2023-051).

 

On December 13, 2022, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved 98 unclassified limited duration positions for the COVID-19 response beyond the end of the emergency declaration as long as 1) a business need exists, including continued COVID response or recovery operations or urgent, limited time frame high priority needs; 2) funding is available; and 3) not to exceed the end of 2024 without further board action (Resolution B2022-285).

 

Attachments

1. Minnesota Department of Human Services County Grant Agreement Direct Emergency Services