Disrupting the Cycle:  HUD’S NOFA on Housing and Services for Human Trafficked Persons

Through an unprecedented partnership between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), HUD has made $14.5 million in funding available to address housing and service needs for survivors of human trafficking. A total of $13.5 million is available for anti-trafficking housing and services program projects. HUD expects to select 20 applicants for awards of up to $1 million. There will be an additional $1 million available for one organization to provide technical assistance (TA) to these programs. This Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) is an opportunity for organizations to center their housing and services work through a trauma-informed and person-centered approach.  

The primary goal of the NOFA is to address housing needs of survivors of sex and labor trafficking by providing long-term housing and appropriate services. Understanding the needs of survivors—whether due to complex trauma, fear of retaliation, lack of immigration status, lack of access to identification, health needs, or having a criminal record—is essential to tailoring services and housing. Collaboration and input from stakeholders—including feedback from communities who shared their insight with federal partners on the disconnect between the anti-trafficking and the homelessness and housing service sectors—has helped strengthen the goals for this program.

Successful applicants will have programs and services that are trauma-informed and person-centered to promote safety for people who are trafficked that result in self-sufficiency and stability.

  1. Human Trafficking Project Priorities

The NOFA places priority on organizations with the capacity to implement collaborative, coordinated, and comprehensive service models between Continuums of Care (CoC) and the anti-trafficking providers.

Programs to consider include organizations that specialize in offering legal services for people who have been trafficked, organizations that specialize in education and employment readiness services for survivors of trafficking, or organizations that specialize in emergency and transitional housing services for people that have been trafficked.

Program awardees must train and work with the local Collaborative Applicant, the coordinated entry system, and CoC organizations in order to identify and address the immediate and long-term needs of people who are trafficked. Successful projects will develop a long-term housing plan, with accompanying services, that result in housing connections that can be maintained by the resident.

Housing. The focus of this NOFA is on rapid re-housing, crisis housing, and host homes. These housing opportunities must be accompanied by supportive services that include access to mainstream employment and other services like those included below.

Supportive Services. HUD strongly encourages projects to leverage supportive services that currently exist in the community. Services provided must also be tailored to address adults, youth, and young adult survivors and include a plan for family reunification, where appropriate. Services may include: assessment of service needs that will support stability, housing search, moving costs and relocation, case management, childcare services, education services, outpatient health services, employment assistance and job training, legal services, mental health services, transportation, and more.

Other Assistance. The program may also cover other assistance, which can include: cell phones, security measures, furniture, household items, crisis intervention, trauma and family therapy, and prevention activities related to housing (e.g., preventing a participant from being evicted).

  1. Community-Wide Plan

Community-wide plans should involve input from survivors, advocates, social services providers, and organizations with experience working with people who have been trafficked. A successful community-wide plan will also include training and consultation with CoCs, or the Tribal area, to help these entities recognize the signs of trafficking and identify people who are trafficked, understand their specialized needs, and be a referral source.

Communities should place particular focus on: 1) utilizing a rapid re-housing approach, 2) case management offerings to all people who are trafficked and seeking housing and services, and 3) providing victim advocacy and information about crime victims’ rights and services. Collaborations that incorporate culturally and linguistically appropriate interventions and services to those with disabilities and functional needs are encouraged.

  1. Coordination with Law Enforcement

Programs are encouraged to assist survivors of human trafficking in complying with reasonable requests from a government entity with authority to investigate or prosecute trafficking acts. Programs are encouraged to develop a process by which participants feel safe speaking to and working with law enforcement, which may include a victims’ rights advocate present during investigation interviews.

  1. Technical Assistance Priorities

To be eligible for TA funding, a provider must have experience working with human trafficking organizations. HUD expects to select one TA provider to support approximately 20 selected housing and service program projects.

This program is the catalyst to help inform federal, state, and local frameworks and models for collaboration to ultimately meet the needs of people who are trafficked. Together, we can better serve the needs of all people who are trafficked that experience housing insecurity.

Applications for Technical Assistance are due August 30, 2019 at 11:59:59 p.m. EDT. Applications for the Human Trafficking Program are due October 30, 2019 at 11:59:59 p.m. EDT.

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