Local Homeless Programs Get a $1.6B Boost

March 9, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

homeless-1254833Following grant programs like we do, we typically see that a federal agency has made awards within a grant program in the millions of dollars. However, my eyes widened this week when I saw that the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $1.6 billion — with a b — in grants to provide funding to 6,400 local homeless housing and service programs across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A rundown of the totals awarded to each state and territory are available here.

The grants were made as part of the Tier 1 Continuum of Care program and seek to reduce homelessness by providing critically needed housing and support services to individuals and families. But it doesn’t end there. HUD said it would award about $300 million in Tier 2 grants later this spring to support hundreds more local programs.

HUD stated that these grants were awarded in the most competitive environment HUD has experienced in the Continuum of Care grant program, adding that communities seeking the grants “made very challenging decisions, often shifting funds from existing projects to create new ones that will have a more substantial and lasting impact on homeless populations.”

HUD estimated that on a single night in 2015, about 564,708 persons experienced homelessness. Local homelessness planning agencies called “Continuums of Care” recently organized volunteers to help count the number of persons located in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and living unsheltered on the streets. These Continuums of Care will report these one-night “point-in-time counts” later in the year and will form the basis of HUD’s 2016 national homeless estimate.

These grants may not achieve the ultimate goal of ending homelessness, but they can go a long way in helping communities address the problem. This is a large sum of federal funds, and hopefully we will see some positive results.

Let us know your reaction to the Continuum of Care program and if you think these funds are well–spent.

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