The North Carolina Emergency Solutions Grant (NC ESG) office contracted with Partners for Impact to assess the challenges that homeless service providers were facing in utilizing and managing ESG Rescue Funds in response to the Covid Pandemic. NC ESG is an office within the Division of Aging and Adult Services, Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina State Government. This office distributes and monitors the utilization of Emergency Solution Grant funds from HUD to communities to address the needs of homeless individuals and families through prevention, street outreach, emergency shelter, rapid rehousing, data collection and management and administration.
North Carolina Emergency Solutions Grant
Planning and Design
The Emergency Solutions Grant application process was outdated and difficult to score. ESG office staff wanted to engage a collaborative approach to revising the application and the funding process so that it better met the needs of local Continuums of Care and homeless service agencies, including new organizations that wanted to access these funds and build capacity for homeless prevention, street outreach, emergency shelter, and rapid rehousing services.
Using a Human Centered Design approach, Partners for Impact began by talking with grantees and representatives from the 12 Continuums of Care for Homeless Services (CoCs) in NC. We gained insight about the values and vision they had for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding process. ESG finding is state managed dollars, regulated by HUD. The funding process must remain within HUD guidelines. However, we discovered many opportunities for improvement in communications, timing, training, technical assistance, peer support, coordination with local CoCs, and through a complete revision of the application itself. Following focus groups, Partners for Impact worked with a design team of grantees and ESG staff to deepen the understanding of input from focus groups and identify process recommendations. Partners for Impact then revised the full application using a continuous feedback process until the design team and the ESG staff had consensus on the final version.
A more equitable application and process that strengthens access to funding by new agencies and streamlines processes for returning agencies.