January 26, 2011 (Jeff Alan)
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced $1.41 billion in funding to keep nearly 7,000 local homeless assistance programs operating in the coming year. The grants form a critical foundation for the Obama Administration’s Opening Doors strategy, the nation’s first comprehensive plan to prevent and end homelessness.
The announcement comes just as thousands of volunteers in nearly every city and county conduct a national one-night count of homeless persons and families. HUD’s “Let’s Make Everybody Count!” campaign is intended to document trends in homelessness that are crucial to local planners’ efforts to prevent and end homelessness in their areas.
“There is a tremendous need on our streets and in our shelters among those experiencing both long-term homelessness as well as families confronting a sudden economic crisis,” said Donovan. “These grants are the life blood for thousands of local housing and service programs that are doing the heavy lifting to meet President Obama’s goal of ending homelessness.”
Barbara Poppe, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director, added, “Across federal agencies, we are aligning mainstream programs towards a goal to prevent and end homelessness. While we continue to strengthen public-private partnerships in Washington and across the country to meet this goal, today’s grants provide essential support to continue the progress and meet critical needs of those who experience the crisis of homelessness.”
The 12 month grants are part of the Obama Administration’s Opening Doors strategy for ending homelessness and represent an increase of $40 million over awards made last year. The Continuum of Care grants, as they are known, are designed to support a variety of services to get the homeless off the street, into transitional and ultimately permanent housing with the support needed to keep them housed.
The bi-annual Let’s Make Everyone Count campaign during which volunteers conduct a national one-night count of the homeless is scheduled for tonight, January 26.
During the last count in January 2009 643,000 persons were found living on the streets or in shelters. A follow-up found that over 2 million Americans were homeless at some point during the year and that they had the following characteristics:
• 78 percent of all sheltered homeless persons are adults;
• 61 percent are male;
• 62 percent are members of a minority group;
• 38 percent are 31-to-50 years old;
• 64 percent are in one-person households, and
• 38 percent have a disability.
Tags: HUD, homeless, shelters, homeless assistance, let’s make everybody count, local housing service programs, grants