Follow Four Dos & Don'ts to Get Funding for Social Service Coordinator
Many assisted sites would like to hire a social service coordinator but don’t know where to get the money to pay the coordinator’s salary. With government grants very limited, it’s important to know what other sources you can tap to get the funding you need. And to get this funding, you need to know what documents and information to include when requesting HUD approval.
To help you, we’ve given you a brief summary of exactly what a service coordinator does, and we’ve put together four dos and don’ts to follow. Following these dos and don’ts will help you determine whether you have enough money to pay for a service coordinator. If you don’t, the dos and don’ts will tell you how to get the funding you need. Also, we’ve included a Model Letter: Explain Why Residents Need a Social Service Coordinator, that you may adapt when you submit your written request for funding to your HUD area office.
What’s a Service Coordinator?
Many residents at family-based assisted sites need social services, such as job training or drug counseling. And residents at elderly and disabled sites need to find the supportive services they need to continue living independently.
Although these services may be available to residents in the neighborhood, locating them can be difficult—especially for site managers who don’t have the time or the training to do so. So, many assisted site owners hire a service coordinator, a full-time staff member with specialized training who’s responsible for linking assisted residents with the services they need.
FOLLOW FOUR DOS & DON’TS
Make Sure Coordinator Meets HUD’s Qualifications
To qualify for funding, make sure any candidate you’re considering hiring as your site’s service coordinator fits the qualifications HUD spells out in its guidelines [HUD Handbook 4381.5, par. 8-4]. The guidelines say a service coordinator should have:
- A bachelor’s degree in social work or a degree in psychology or counseling, preferably; however, individuals without a degree but with appropriate work experience may be hired;
- Two to three years’ experience in providing social services to families;
- Demonstrated working knowledge of social services and resources in your area; and
- Demonstrated ability to advocate, organize, problem-solve, and “provide results” for families.
Use Proper Type of Funding
You can get funding for a service coordinator at an elderly, disabled, or family-based site. But what funding you can use depends on a variety of factors, including the type of site and whether it has residual receipts. Here are the types of funding available and which types of sites can use them.
Grants. Each year HUD offers grant monies to owners of HUD assisted housing, enabling them to hire a service coordinator. Service coordinator grants are made for an initial three-year term and provide funding for the salary, fringe benefits, and related administrative costs associated with employing a service coordinator. HUD awards grants to owners of HUD assisted multifamily housing—namely, developments built with or subsidized by the following programs: Section 202, project-based Section 8, Section 236, and Section 221(d)(3) Below-Market Interest Rate. All housing must be designed or designated for sole occupancy by elderly persons (aged 62 and older) and/or younger people with disabilities (aged 18 to 61).
Residual receipts. If your site has a residual receipts account, you can use funds from this account to pay your service coordinator’s salary, but you must first ask HUD’s permission to withdraw funds for this purpose. You would have funds in a residual receipts account if, over the years, your site operations have generated cash that exceeds the amount of permitted payments to the owner.
To get permission, submit a written request to your local HUD office. Ask your local HUD office if it has a form you must complete as part of this request.
Rent increases. If your site gets budget-based rent increases, you can ask HUD for a rent increase to fund a service coordinator. But if your site has a residual receipts account, you can’t ask HUD for a rent increase until you’ve used up all the funds in that account.
If your site gets budget-based rent increases, HUD says to follow the rent-increase request procedures in Handbook 4350.1 (Chapter 7). You must submit an annual budget that includes the costs for the coordinator.
If your site gets rent increases based on “annual adjustment factors,” you’ll need to request a “special rent increase.” HUD describes the required submissions for special rent increases in Handbook 4350.1 (Chapter 34). For instance, you must show proof that social problems have caused a “substantial and general increase” in operating costs at your site and other assisted sites in your area.
Don’t Set Unreasonably High Salary for Coordinator
HUD hasn’t specified any limits on coordinators’ salaries. But, as with any other site expense, you must be prepared to show HUD that the salary you’re proposing for the coordinator is “reasonable.” That means you need to do some research before submitting your proposal to HUD.
Advertise for the position and describe the qualifications you’re looking for and the type of work you’d expect the coordinator to do. Ask applicants to send a resume and a cover letter that includes their salary history and the salary they would want for a job at your site. Base your salary proposal on these applicants' responses and submit any responses to HUD as evidence that your proposal is reasonable. You can also check with other management companies or your local HUD office to see what salary range is reasonable in your site’s area.
Document Need for Coordinator When Requesting Funding
Back up your funding requests to HUD with a letter that explains why your site needs a service coordinator. Whether you’re asking for HUD’s approval to pay for a coordinator from your site’s residual receipts accounts, a budget-based rent increase, or a special rent increase, you’ll increase your chances of getting approval if you make a convincing case.
You can submit the percentage of the site’s residents who need social services; you might include a resident petition that calls for a social service coordinator, or the results of a resident questionnaire/survey that highlights their unmet social services needs; you may submit incident reports involving such things as drugs, gangs, or violence that indicate a need for a social service coordinator; or you may submit expense records that show extra costs for repairing vandalized property or for increased security or any other expenses linked to social problems. If possible, show HUD how your site’s high turnover rate is connected to unmet social needs. Finally, you may want to explain to HUD that dealing with the problems created by unmet social needs has distracted staff members from doing the jobs they were hired to do.
See The Model Tools For This Article
|Explain Why Residents Need a Social Service Coordinator|