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Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program

View current NOFA and Application

View current Publications and Forms


The Emergency Solutions Grants program (ESG) provides funds for a variety of activities to address homelessness as authorized under the federal HEARTH Act of 2009 and State program requirements.  The State of California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD or Department) administers the ESG program with funding received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The federal ESG program provides grant funding to   (1) engage homeless individuals and families living on the street; (2) rapidly re-house homeless individuals and families (2) help operate and provide essential services in emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families; (4) prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless.

In an effort to align State ESG with federal ESG and the HEARTH Act priorities, HCD has redesigned how it allocates and distributes funding.   The redesigned ESG program aims to do the following: align with local systems’ federal ESG and HEARTH goals; invest in impactful activities based on key performance goals and outcomes; improve geographic distribution of funded activities and continuity of funded activities, and create a streamlined delivery mechanism.

Assistance Type



HCD distributes federal Emergency Solutions Grant funds to eligible subrecipients with one- or two-year grants.

Eligible Activities

ESG funds may be used for four primary activities: Street Outreach, Rapid Re-Housing Assistance, Emergency Shelter, and Homelessness Prevention.  In addition, ESG funds may be used for associated Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) costs, and administrative activities, for some subrecipients.  Refer to the current Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for any limitations on these activities.


The Department subgrants its funding to subrecipients in Continuum of Care service areas that have at least one jurisdiction that does not receive ESG funds directly from HUD (“Nonentitlement”).   In the Continuum of Care Allocation, local governmental entities are eligible subrecipients, who in turn select homeless service providers to receive the funds.  In the Balance of State Allocation, private nonprofit organizations or units of general purpose local government are eligible subrecipients that receive ESG funds directly from the Department. (The two allocations are described further below.)

State ESG–funded activities may serve the entire service area of the Continuum of Care, but must serve Nonentitlement areas within the service area.  For a list of CoC Service Areas eligible to participate in the State’s ESG program, refer to Appendix A of the current NOFA (available May 2016).

Funding distribution and Application Process

HCD allocates its funding to the State’s Continuum of Care (CoC) service areas using a formula method set forth under Section 8402 of the State ESG Regulations to two allocations

Continuum of Care (CoC) Allocation

CoCs within this allocation have at least one city or county that receives ESG funds directly from HUD. Within the CoC Allocation, Administrative Entities (AEs) are selected by HCD to administer an allocation of funds provided through a formula for their service area. These AEs must be local governments of ESG Entitlement Areas and must commit to administering State ESG funds in collaboration with their CoC throughout their Continuum of Care Service Area, including ensuring access to ESG funds by households living in Nonentitlement Areas. A minimum of 40% of each AE Allocation must be used for Rapid Rehousing activities.  

CoC Allocation Administrative Entity Contact List

Balance of State (BoS) Allocation

CoCs within this allocation have no cities or counties that receive ESG funds directly from HUD.

Within the BoS Allocation, CoCs may select providers to receive a portion of funds available noncompetitively for Rapid Rehousing (RR).  The Department will administer these contracts with providers. Remaining funds within the BoS Allocation will be divided into three regional allocations. CoCs will recommend homeless service providers to compete for these funds within their regional allocation under a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) issued by HCD.

Balance of State Allocation Continuum of Care Contact List

The NOFA under the regional allocations is expected to be released in May, with applications due in July.
Awards under both the CoC and BoS allocations are expected in to be made in September/October.

California ESG Program

The 2016-17 budget bill, SB 837 (Section 72), created the California Emergency Solutions Grants (CA ESG) Program for which $35 million has been made available to support rapid rehousing, emergency shelter, and other services to address homelessness throughout the State.  The legislation provides that the CA ESG program shall be administered by the Department in a manner generally consistent with the Federal ESG Program, and requires the Department to adopt program guidelines to address changes that may be needed to expand the program to cover all areas of the State, or to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the program.


Program Publications and Forms


June 2, 2016 FAQ

Management Memos

Authorizing Resolutions Not Used For Balance of State Regional Competition

2016 ESGSolicitation of Interest Forms

Solicitation of Interest forms were sent in January in order to identify local government AEs within the CoC Allocation and CoCs within the BoS Allocation willing to recommend providers for ESG funding.

HCD Webinars

HUD Resources

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