SSVF Program Update January 27, 2017 (Please read)

Hi Team,

Happy Friday! Please find our latest SSVF Program Update. Please review this content in detail. Almost everything in the update is new. I expect you all to be well-versed in the information outlined below.

Thanks so much!


Adrienne Nash Melendez, MLD
Regional Coordinator
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Please note new email address:

-----Original Message-----
From: SSVF Program Office []
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2017 11:06 AM
Subject: [EXTERNAL] SSVF Program Update January 27, 2017


1.            Voluntary vs. Mandatory Return of SSVF Grant Funds
2.            Grantee Quarterly Certification Submissions: Are they timely and accurate?
3.            Register Now: SSVF National Webinar on February 9th, 2017 at 2:00PM EST : Audit Guidelines, Fraud Prevention, Reporting and Compliance
4.            Newly Released: SSVF Grantee Orientation Guide – January 2017
5.            Reminder:  SSVF Post Award Launch – Denver, CO 
6.            Reminder: SSVF NOFA Applications Due February 3, 2017 at 4pm EST!

Voluntary vs. Mandatory Return of SSVF Grant Funds

During the current grant year, FY 2017, the SSVF Program Office is implementing two methods for recouping unspent grant funds in order to maximize the use of SSVF resources and redistribute to other areas of high need.  The first method is the voluntary return of SSVF grant funds.  Within the 1st and 2nd quarter certification forms, grantees have the opportunity to identify their interest in returning funds that will not be spent by the end of the grant year.  Those who indicate "yes" to this question will receive a separate GIFTS requirement requesting details about the interest in returning of funds.

The second method for recouping unused grant funds is the mandatory return of unspent grant funds. Per the grant agreement between VA and SSVF grantees, the SSVF Program Office will recoup funds from grantees who are not meeting the minimum expenditure rates.  This is the first year mandatory returns will be implemented.  However, the SSVF Program Office has elected to waive this process for first quarter of FY17.  The grant agreement (MOA) describes that, after each quarter, grantees are required to have a minimum percentage of funds drawn from the HHS Payment Management System; 1st quarter – 15% or more; 2nd quarter – 40% or more; 3rd quarter – 65% or more.  The SSVF Program Office is currently developing the procedures for how this will be completed and will inform grantees as soon as possible.  In the meantime, please review your grant expenditures and your projected spending for the remainder of the grant year. The first mandatory return of funds will take place immediately following the end of the 2nd quarter (April). If you have questions about this new process for FY2017, please contact your Regional Coordinator.

Grantee Quarterly Certification Submissions: Are they timely and accurate?

The SSVF Program Office understands that grantees have multiple priorities and strives to provide efficient and streamlined procedures to alleviate the administrative burden of operating federal grant programs.  Grantees have provided valuable feedback on the utilization of the GIFTS system for reporting and we appreciate the opportunity to enhance productivity for our partners.  It is important to note that the quarterly certification is a part of the SSVF reporting requirements and they must be submitted in a timely manner.  For the recent quarterly certification submissions, 50 SSVF grant programs failed to submit a quarterly certification within the GIFTS system.  This results in non-compliance with the SSVF grant program.  Additionally, it is critical that SSVF program management ensures that those completing the quarterly certifications fully understand what each question is asking.  For example, the recent quarterly certification asked if grantees with low expenditure rates were interested in voluntarily returning grant funds to VA.  For those who answered "yes" to this question, the SSVF Program Office sent details regarding next steps for returning funds and more than 60% indicated that the answer had been submitted in error.  Errors such as this significantly impact the ability to project future resources for high need areas and to provide accurate reports to VA leadership and Congressional committees.  You are all doing such amazing work.  Please ensure that reports and other requirements are timely and accurate so that the SSVF Program Office can effectively assess grantee performance, community progress in meeting our goals, and can avoid unintended negative consequences. 

Register Now: SSVF National Webinar on February 9th, 2017 at 2:00PM EST

Title: Audit Guidelines and Fraud Prevention, Reporting and Compliance

The webinar reviews key areas assessed during financial audits and highlights strategies for preventing fraud, waste and abuse of grant funds. Compliance staff and auditors will discuss requirements for reporting potential allegations of fraudulent activity to VA. This webinar will be included as an updated version to the existing SSVF Grantee Orientation Guide and should be reviewed on an annual basis by all SSVF staff. Please register here:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Newly Released: SSVF Grantee Orientation Guide – January 2017

The updated SSVF Grantee Orientation Guide has been posted to the SSVF website. The Guide offers a broad introduction to the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.  Each SSVF grantee is expected to share the orientation materials with new program staff as part of their organization's onboarding process.   New staff should read all materials in their entirety and review the resources and materials that are included in the hyperlinks throughout the document.  Grantees should confirm that new staff has read required all the required materials during their quarterly certification process.  

Link to Guide:

Reminder:  SSVF Post Award Launch – Denver, CO 

Attention to all grantees that were not invited or did not attend the SSVF Launch in November 2016 held in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now OPEN for these grantees to attend the FY 2017 SSVF Post Award Launch Event to be held on February 7-8 in Denver, Colorado. Grantees are expected to arrive on February 6th in order to begin promptly on February 7th. Invitations have been sent to the SSVF Grant Contact #1 and Grant Contact #2 in the GIFTs system. If you believe you did not receive the invitation, please check with your internal staff prior to contacting the Program Office or your Regional Coordinator. If you have any questions, please email Bobby Thompson at

Reminder: SSVF NOFA Applications Due February 3, 2017 at 4pm EST!

Thank you,

SSVF Program Office

NOTE:  If you are receiving this email in error, please disregard.  We request your patience as the SSVF Program Office continues to address system issues with the grants management database.