Program Standards for Emergency Shelters

Final as of February 23rd, 2015:


Final as of February 19, 2015:

Program Standards for Homeless Prevention & Diversion Programs:

Updated as of 12/5/2014.

Program Standards for Rapid Re-Housing Programs:

These standards are substantially updated as of 12/11/2014

Outline for future Program Standards:


The Interim Continuum of Care Regulations issued July 2012 require development of common system-wide standards for all homeless services programs within a Continuum of Care’s geographic region. This page will provide an overview of the process for developing these common standards, and the specific language of the regulation, below. Bookmark this page to keep up with developments on the common standards. The process will be as follows:

  1. Collection of existing standards, policies & procedures
  2. Compile, compare, and contrast the existing policies & procedures
  3. Identify areas of commonality and difference
  4. Prepare draft of areas of commonality for each program component
  5. Convene discussions of areas of difference to develop consensus language wherever possible
    1. For newer program components such as Rapid Re-Housing, these can be designed as a “lab” in which a variety of program delivery strategies can be explored collaboratively.
    2. Re-draft program standards with consensus language
    3. Draft Program Standards issued for community review, revision & consensus
    4. Adoption by CoC Steering Committee & membership body


The specific regulations appear under § 578.7 Responsibilities of the Continuum of Care (a)(9), as follows:

In consultation with recipients of Emergency Solutions Grants program funds within the geographic area, establish and consistently follow written standards for providing Continuum of Care assistance. At a minimum, these written standards must include:
(i) Policies and procedures for evaluating individuals’ and families’ eligibility for assistance under this part;
(ii) Policies and procedures for determining and prioritizing which eligible individuals and families will receive transitional housing assistance;
(iii) Policies and procedures for determining and prioritizing which eligible individuals and families will receive rapid rehousing assistance;
(iv) Standards for determining what percentage or amount of rent each program participant must pay while receiving rapid rehousing assistance;
(v) Policies and procedures for determining and prioritizing which eligible individuals and families will receive permanent supportive housing ...

The Interim regulations for Emergency Solutions Grants also describe the required written standards for providing ESG assistance in § 576.400 (e). Standards must be:

(A) Established for each area covered by a Continuum of Care or area over which the services are coordinated and followed by each subrecipient [grantee] providing assistance in that area
(3) At a minimum these written standards must include:
(i) Standard policies and procedures for evaluating individuals’ and families’ eligibility for assistance under Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG);
(ii) Standards for targeting and providing essential services related to street outreach;
(iii) Policies and procedures for admission, diversion, referral, and discharge by emergency shelters assisted under ESG, including standards regarding length of stay, if any, and safeguards to meet the safety and shelter needs of special populations, e.g., victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and individuals and families who have the highest barriers to housing and are likely to be homeless the longest;
(iv) Policies and procedures for assessing, prioritizing, and reassessing individuals’ and families’ needs for essential services related to emergency shelter;
(v) Policies and procedures for coordination among emergency shelter providers, essential services providers, homelessness prevention, and rapid rehousing assistance providers; other homeless assistance providers; and mainstream service and housing providers;
(vi) Policies and procedures for determining and prioritizing which eligible families and individuals will receive homelessness prevention assistance and which eligible families and individuals will receive rapid rehousing assistance;
(vii) Standards for determining what percentage or amount of rent and utilities costs each program participant must pay while receiving homelessness prevention or rapid re-housing assistance;
(viii) Standards for determining how long a particular program participant will be provided with rental assistance and whether and how the amount of that assistance will be adjusted over time; and
(ix) Standards for determining the type, amount, and duration of housing stabilization and/or relocation services to provide to a program participant, including the limits, if any, on the homelessness prevention or rapid rehousing assistance that each program participant may receive, such as the maximum amount of assistance, maximum number of months the program participant receive assistance; or the maximum number of times the program participant may receive assistance.