U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan recently awarded $1.47 billion to renew funding to more than 7,100 local homeless programs operating across the country. The funding announced will ensure these housing and service programs remain operating in 2012 and are a critical part of the current administration’s strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.
The funding announced is $62 million more than last year, the most homeless assistance ever awarded by the Department. HUD is renewing funding through its Continuum of Care programs to existing local programs as quickly as possible to prevent any interruption in federal assistance and will award funds to new projects in early 2012.
“The grants we’re awarding today will literally keep the doors of our shelters open and will help those on the front lines of ending homelessness do what they do best,” said Donovan. “It’s incredible that as we work to recover from the greatest economic decline since the Great Depression, the total number of homeless Americans is declining, in large part because of these funds.”
HUD previously announced its 2011 “point in time” estimate of the number of homeless persons in America. Approximately 3,000 cities and counties reported 636,000 homeless persons on a single night in January of 2011, a 2.1 percent decline from the year before. This documented reduction in homelessness was noticed among all population groups including individuals, families, and those experiencing long-term or chronic homeless. In addition, HUD’s estimate reveals a 12 percent reduction in homelessness among veterans.
HUD’s Continuum of Care grants provide permanent and transitional housing to homeless persons as well as 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.
In addition to HUD’s annual grant awards, HUD continues to manage the $1.5 billion Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing (HPRP) Program. Made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, this three-year grant program is intended to prevent persons from falling into homelessness or to rapidly re-house them if they do. To date, more than one million persons have been assisted through HPRP.