The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an Information Memorandum (IM) on February 20, 2013, which urges jurisdictions administering Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) funds to use this resource to help families avoid or exit homelessness.
Federal TANF and state Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funds may be used to address the housing-related needs of families who are homeless or precariously housed. Families do not have to be receiving TANF cash assistance in order to qualify for housing services, although those receiving a cash grant may use TANF assistance to pay for housing.
Along with providing ongoing basic assistance, a TANF program may provide an array of non-recurrent, short-term benefits and services. These must last no longer than four months and must address a specific crisis situation rather than meet ongoing needs.
TANF funds can also be used in coordination with HUD’s targeted homeless assistance grant programs, such as the Continuum of Care (CoC) program and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program, to maximize the impact of both resources.
The IM includes several examples of how states have used TANF to serve homeless families.