Cenla agencies receive federal dollars to help homeless

WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration Wednesday, Dec. 23, announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is renewing grant funding needed to keep thousands of local homeless assistance programs operating.  HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said a total of nearly $1.4 billion will help an unprecedented 6,445 programs to continue offering critically needed housing and services to homeless persons and families.

 The grants announced are being awarded through HUD’s Continuum of Care programs.  For the first time ever, HUD is quickly providing renewal grants to local programs to prevent any interruption in federal assistance and will announce funding to new projects in early 2010.  For a local summary of the grants announced today, visit HUD’s Web site.

“As we move into the coldest time of the year, it’s critical that no program risk running out of money to keep their doors open,” said Donovan. “These grants will make certain that those programs on the front lines of helping the homeless have the resources they need to house and serve persons who might otherwise be forced to turn to the streets.”

Here’s how the money flowed to Central Louisiana agencies:

Central Louisiana Coalition to Prevent Homelessness    $58,244
Hope House of Central Louisiana                                              $129,084
Inner City Revitalzation Corp                                                   $33,333
Vernon Community Action Council, Inc                              $70,092
Volunteers of America North Louisiana                               $208,278
Volunteers of America North Louisiana                               $63,521
Volunteers of America North Louisiana                               $78,720

Total:                                                                                                   $641,272

Barbara Poppe, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, said, “Today we extend the federal partnership with communities to meet demand  for homeless assistance and support programs that successfully end homelessness. This public-private partnership has demonstrated tremendous success at ending chronic homelessness and we are now working to build partnerships to end homelessness among veterans and prevent family, youth, and child homelessness.”

HUD’s Continuum of Care Grants provide permanent and transitional housing to homeless persons. In addition, Continuum grants fund important services including job training, health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and child care. Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively to local programs to meet the needs of their homeless clients. These grants fund a wide variety of programs from 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 homeless assessment, chronic homelessness has declined since 2005.  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.  However, data also indicates that family homelessness may be on the rise, particularly in suburban and rural areas.

Earlier this year, HUD allocated an additional $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 $1.4 billion to renew funding to 6,445 local programs. HUD awarded $1.2 billion to 5,825 renewal projects last year.

•More than $738 million is being awarded to 2,997 projects that provide permanent housing solutions for homeless families and individuals, including persons who are chronically homeless

•More than 3,200 local projects that serve families with children will receive over $733 million.

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 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) released by HUD in July 2009:

•Nearly 1.6 million people use emergency or transitional housing programs over the course of a year; and

•On a given night, approximately 664,000 people are homeless. Of those:

1.More than 124,000 are chronically homeless;

1.36.5 percent are chronic substance abusers;

2.26.3 percent are severely mentally ill; and

3.About 15 percent are veterans.

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