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Specialized Housing

Emergency Solutions Grant

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The Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program is designed to identify sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons, as well as those at risk of homelessness, and provide the services necessary to help those persons quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness.

The ESG Program provides funds to:

  1. Engage homeless individuals and families living on the street.
  2. Improve the number and quality of emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families.
  3. Help operate these shelters.
  4. Provide essential services to shelter residents.
  5. Rapidly re-house homeless individuals and families.
  6. Prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless.
The program is also intended to lower the increase of homelessness through the funding of preventive programs and services. Eligible applicants include units of local government or private, nonprofit organizations that receive approval by an appropriate unit of local government.

ESG Program funds may be used for one or more of the five program components:

  • Street Outreach.
  • Emergency Shelter.
  • Homelessness Prevention.
  • Rapid Re-Housing.
  • Homeless Management Information System.

The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH Act) amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, including major revisions to the Emergency Shelter Grant Program, which became the ESG Program. The HEARTH program has since ended and is no longer available.

On December 5, 2011, HUD published in the Federal Register the Emergency Solutions Grant Interim Rule which revises the regulations for the Emergency Shelter Grant Program by establishing the regulations for the Emergency Solutions Grant Program.  A copy of this rule, as well as other ESG documents, are available on the ESG Resources page.

Resources from the National Alliance to End Homelessness 

Rapid Rehousing

Rapid Rehousing Core Components

Rapid Rehousing Benchmarks and Standards (Standards begin on page 5)

Rapid Rehousing Toolkit


Low-Barrier Emergency Shelter

Emergency Shelter Learning Series