U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today renewed support for 7,000 local homeless housing and service programs across the U.S. Provided through HUD's Continuum of Care Program, the funding announced today will ensure these local projects remain operating in the coming year. This year, HUD challenged local communities to reexamine their response to homelessness and give greater weight to proven strategies, from providing "rapid re-housing' for homeless families to permanent supportive housing for those experiencing chronic homelessness (see attached chart).
The $1.5 billion in grants announced today support a wide range of programs including street outreach, client assessment, and direct housing assistance. Later this year, HUD will award additional grant funding to support hundreds of other local programs.
"The evidence is clear that every dollar we spend on those programs that help find a stable home for our homeless neighbors not only saves money but quite literally saves lives," said Donovan. "We know these programs work and we know these grants can mean the difference between homeless persons and families finding stable housing or living on our streets."
Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively to local projects to meet the needs of their homeless clients. The grants fund a wide variety of programs from street outreach and assessment to transitional and permanent housing for homeless persons and families. HUD funds are a critical part of the Obama Administration's strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.
While the Fiscal Year 2012 funds awarded today are not impacted by the automatic across-the-board budget cuts under sequestration that began March 1st, Donovan cautioned that future budget cuts may reverse significant reported declines in homelessness: "During this challenging budget climate, we must make certain that we don't balance our books on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. When we make even modest investments in these programs, we see a measurable decline in homelessness."
HUD recently announced its 2012 "point in time" estimate of the number of homeless persons in America. Approximately 3,000 cities and counties reported 633,782 homeless persons on a single night in January of 2012, largely unchanged from the year before. While HUD found significant declines among the long-term homeless and veterans, local communities reported an increase in the number of sheltered and unsheltered families with children.
HUD's Continuum of Care grants announced today will continue offering 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.
In 2010, President Obama and 19 federal agencies and offices that form the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) launched the nation's first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness puts the country on a path to end veterans and chronic homelessness by 2015 and to ending homelessness among children, family, and youth by 2020.