New federal grants target homeless problemU.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced this week nearly $190 million in new grants to assist hundreds of local homeless assistance programs across the country.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced this week nearly $190 million in new grants to assist hundreds of local homeless assistance programs across the country. The funding will provide support to 550 local projects that will offer critically needed housing and support services to nearly 20,000 homeless individuals and families over the extended lifetime of these grants. For a complete listing of those local programs awarded funding, visit HUD's website.
Last December, HUD awarded nearly $1.4 billion through its Continuum of Care programs to quickly renew funding to 6,445 existing local programs. The grants announced today build on that investment by funding new projects, awarded by competition and funded through the 2009 Continuum of Care funds. In addition, the funding supports the Obama Administration's far-reaching and ambitious plan to end homelessness. Last month, Donovan and 18 other federal agencies unveiled Opening Doors, an unprecedented federal strategy to end veteran and chronic homelessness by 2015, and to end homelessness among children, families, and youth by 2020.
"This funding is an important part of the Obama Administration's new strategy to end homelessness in all its forms," said Donovan. "We know that these programs are critical in moving people beyond a life on the streets and placing them on a path toward dignity and self sufficiency."
HUD's Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively to local programs to meet the needs of their homeless clients Continuum of Care grants provide permanent and transitional housing to homeless persons. In addition, Continuum of Care grants fund a wide range of programs including important services such as job training, health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and child care.. These grants also fund street outreach and assessment programs to transitional and permanent housing for homeless persons and families.
HUD's homelessness grants are reducing long-term or chronic homelessness in America. Based on the Department's latest Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR), chronic homelessness has declined by 30 percent since 2006. This decline is directly attributed to HUD's homeless grants helping to create significantly more permanent housing for those who might otherwise be living on the streets. It was also reported in the AHAR that the number of homeless families increased for the second consecutive year, almost certainly due to the ongoing effects of the recession.
In addition to the funding provided through HUD's Continuum of Care Programs, the Department allocated $1.5 billion through its new Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing (HPRP) Program. Made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, HPRP is intended to prevent persons from falling into homelessness or to rapidly re-house them if they do.
Highlights of HUD's homeless assistance
HUD is awarding nearly $190 million to support 550 local programs throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.
$170 million is being awarded to 474 projects that provide permanent housing solutions for homeless families and individuals, including persons who are chronically homeless.
189 programs will primarily assist homeless veterans.
182 local programs will assist persons living with severe mental illness.
28 projects primarily serve victims of domestic violence.
123 projects provide services to chronic substance abusers.
12 local programs will offer housing and support services to persons living with HIV/AIDS
HUD's housing and service programs funded through the Continuum of Care competition establish the foundation for communities to serve many of the nation's most vulnerable individuals and families. Based on the 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) released by HUD last month:
1.56 million persons spent at least one night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing programs between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009; and
On a given night in January, 2009 approximately 643,000 people are homeless.
While the total number of homeless persons declined slightly between 2008 and 2009, the number of homeless families and the total number of persons in families increased for a second consecutive year.