Bright Spot: Montgomery County | Pairing Case Management with Long-Term Housing Programs

September 20, 2019

Work with local and county affordable housing programs to create preferences or define eligibility in ways that prioritize CoC referrals of those who are at-risk of chronic homelessness

Check out This Bright Spot if…

● Individuals on the community’s Chronic At-Risk List need a PSH-level of support, but you don’t want to wait for them to become chronically homeless to qualify for PSH 

● You want to try it!


Individuals who are at-risk of becoming chronically homeless often need long-term financial support to stay in housing beyond the typical temporary assistance provided by RRH or SSVF programs. Because individuals who are placed on a community’s chronic at-risk list often have a significant disability and/or a substantial amount of time spent homeless and disconnected from community supports, the time frame for having sufficient income to maintain housing without a subsidy is often longer than for individuals who are not on a chronic at-risk list. Individuals on a chronic at-risk list may also need more intensive and/or a longer duration of case management or other services than those typically provided through Rapid- Rehousing or SSVF. 

The Montgomery County Continuum of Care is operated under the County Department of Health & Human Services’ Special Needs Housing Program. The CoC has worked hard over the past several years to strengthen their relationship the County’s Housing Authority, HoC, a key partner in developing affordable housing in the County. After partnering with HoC in their work to end veteran homelessness, the CoC continued to work with HoC to refine and clarify processes to expedite housing for homeless individuals, train providers on this process, and embark on a move on/move up strategy to make new PSH units available for chronically homeless individuals by supporting those who are ready to move on to more independent housing options.

Key Action: Pair With Other Programs 

Montgomery County was able to create a PSH-like program through pairing the HoC’s housing assistance with local programs to provide ongoing case management services as needed, through innovations such as a County program to use a Medicaid Waiver to fund case management agencies to provide services for persons housed off the chronic and at-risk lists. 

Key Action: Refine the County’s Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit

Montgomery County is in discussions with the County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs to explore the possibility of refining the eligibility and referral process for the County’s Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) Program to prioritize persons from the Coc’s Chronic List and Chronic At-Risk List for housing units. 

The MPDU program was created through a mandatory inclusionary zoning law that specified a density bonus allowance to builders for providing affordable housing. If the program is willing to adjust the income requirements for a portion of units for referrals from the CoC, units could be made available for persons on the community’s at-risk list. The three agencies involved with the program’s operation and oversight are the Park & Planning Commision, the Department of Housing & 

Community Affairs and the Housing Opportunities Commission (which acts as the County’s Housing Authority.) The Continuum of Care has been developing a strong relationship with both HoC and DCHA to explore ways to further partner and end chronic and veteran homelessness. The CoC hopes to make progress in gaining a commitment on the part of DCHA to explore this possibility over the coming months. 

For More Information:

Contact Nili Soni ( ),Continuum of Care Coordinator, Department of Health & Human Services or Chapman Todd ( Campaign Coordinator, Built for Zero