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HHS Releases Information Memorandum “Use of TANF Funds to Serve Homeless Families and Families At-Risk of Experiencing Homelessness”

February 20, 2013

Today the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Family Assistance released an information memorandum (IM) entitled "Use of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) Funds to Serve Homeless Families and Families At Risk of Experiencing Homelessness." This information memorandum affirms the importance of using eligible Federal and State TANF funds to serve families who come into contact with homeless service providers, the majority of whom are eligible for TANF-funded assistance. Barriers to employment and stability for families experiencing or at risk of homelessness, such as housing costs, childcare, and transportation, can be addressed by closer coordination between TANF agencies and homeless service providers. However, many families experiencing homelessness who come into contact with homeless service providers are not connected to TANF resources. This IM encourages TANF agencies to consider providing interventions to families that help assist families in finding or staying in permanent housing with coordinated support services. 

Notably, the practice of using TANF funds to provide one-time or short-term assistance consistent with rapid re-housing programs is an encouraged use of TANF funds. The IM also encourages these funds to be used in coordination with HUD’s targeted homeless assistance programs. The IM also details the ways in which TANF agencies can assist in coordinating their program with other federal or state programs that can assist families in need. Key state examples are given to illustrate innovative ways State and local leaders have worked with TANF agencies to help families rapidly exit or avoid homelessness. 

Read HHS’ information memorandum