New CRS Report on Federal Spending Trends

The Congressional Research Service recently created a report titled “Federal Benefits and Services for People with Low Income: Overview of Spending Trends, FY2008-FY2015.” The report is the latest in a series that attempts to identify and discuss programs and services oriented toward low-income populations, while focusing on aggregate spending trends.

The report contains some interesting charts that show how spending on housing compares to other categories of federal spending. The chart below from page 6 of the report shows spending by category. Notice that health care spending dwarfs the other categories, while “housing and development” is in the middle.


Read the full report here.

HUD Offering $2 million in ROSS Grants to Help Students Navigate College and Continuing Education Financial Aid Assistance

On August 2, HUD announced $2 million in grants to “help low-income families and young people apply for federal aid for college and other post-secondary educational opportunities.” The program is being funded through the Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) Program. The program will allow up to six public housing agencies (PHAs) to support “Education Navigators.”

HUD’s ROSS for Education Program is known as Project SOAR (Students + Opportunities + Achievements = Results).  It will “support hundreds of young people between the ages of 15 – 20 to apply for [the] U.S. Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).” HUD is also working with the Department of Education to share data about FAFSA completion and is working with the White House’s Social and Behavioral Sciences Team to develop methods to increase completion rates of the FAFSA among students with housing assistance.

Read HUD’s full press release here.

Read HUD’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) here.

Read more about how behavioral economics can be used to “nudge” applicants receiving housing assistance to seek Federal Student Aid here.

Moving On from Supportive Housing Toolkit

Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) has developed a new Moving On Toolkit for supportive housing providers, Continuums of Care, PHAs, state and local government agencies and other organizations that would like to plan, develop, sustain and evaluate Moving On initiatives within their communities. Moving On initiatives provide rental subsidy and transition assistance to tenants who are able and want to move out of supportive housing and into a new apartment. The toolkit outlines the various phases and steps in the Moving On process and offers numerous links and helpful resources, including descriptions of previous or existing Moving On projects and practical tools or templates developed by implementing organizations. According to CSH, the fundamental goal of Moving On is to promote the highest levels of independence and choice for tenants. HUD has previously provided public support for Moving On but current initiatives only exist on a small scale through scattered pilots.