Today at the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless annual awards luncheon, U.S. Senator Jack Reed presented Sue Bodington, Deputy Director for Programs at Rhode Island Housing, with the 2013 Jack Reed Advocacy Award for her deep and abiding dedication to promoting affordable housing and combating homelessness in Rhode Island for more than 30 years.
"On behalf of all Rhode Islanders, especially those whose lives you have touched and improved in meaningful ways, I thank you for your distinguished service," said Reed. "All of us who have come to know Sue throughout the years know that her commitment to housing the homeless and providing affordable housing was never in pursuit of compliments or awards. It was in the quiet and determined pursuit of helping others live with dignity in safe and affordable housing, and what a worthy pursuit it has been."
Ms. Bodington joined Rhode Island Housing in 1991. Prior to that she held community development positions with the state as well as with the cities of Providence and East Providence. During her career, she spearheaded key efforts to combat homelessness and create affordable homes for all Rhode Islanders.
Today, Senator Reed also announced over $4.79 million in federal funding for programs working to reduce homelessness in Rhode Island. The federal Continuum of Care (CoC) grants support 43 local housing assistance programs that offer a wide variety of services for homeless veterans, the mentally ill, families, single men, women and children.
"Whether it is helping a homeless veteran who is struggling with PTSD or a family that is on the brink of becoming homeless, these grants provide critical assistance to those in need," said Reed. "This federal funding is essential to effectively addressing the needs of the homeless."
The $4.786 million in federal funding will be used to support permanent and transitional housing assistance, as well as a wide range of supportive services, such as job training, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, and child care. The funding is made available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Continuum of Care Program.
One of Sue Boddington's career accomplishments was coordinating Rhode Island's Homeless Continuum of Care, overseeing the creation of a consolidated statewide system for grants and monitoring the effective use of federal homelessness prevention funding.
Senator Reed is the author of the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, which President Obama signed into law in May of 2009. In addition to boosting targeted homelessness assistance and prevention grant programs going forward, Reed's legislation mandated that the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness produce a "national strategic plan" to end homelessness, which became the White House's new strategy called "Opening Doors."
According to the 2012 "point-in-time" HUD survey, an estimated 1,277 Rhode Island men, women, and children experienced homelessness on a single given night in January 2012. Nationwide, approximately 3,000 cities and counties reported 633,782 homeless persons experienced homelessness.
The grants are awarded competitively by HUD to local homeless programs throughout Rhode Island, including: 414 Friendship Street; 70 Linwood Avenue Apartments; ACCESS-RI; Agape Permanent Supportive Housing Program; Amos House; Constitution Hill Supportive Housing Program; Crossroads Apartments North Kingstown; Crossroads Providence Transitional Housing; East, Earl and Warwick Avenue; Eastbay Coalition for the Homeless Transitional Housing; Family Case Management; First Step Program; Fran Conway House of Hope; Gateway to Independence; Gateway Transitional Housing Program; Gemini Apartments; Greater Westerly Supportive Housing Expansion Initiative; Haswill Street; Housing Locator Phase II; Johnston Veterans Program; Ledge Street; Lucy's Hearth Transitional Housing Program; MAP Transitional Housing Program; McKinney Cooperative Shelter; Operation Stand Down West Warwick; Permanent Housing for Disabled Adults; Permanent Housing for Disabled Elders; Rhode Island Family Shelter; Rhode Island Homeless Management Information System; S+C New Project; S+C Renewal; SSTARBIRTH; Supportive Housing Program; The Key; The Sarah Francis Grant Homestead; New Hope for Families; Transitional Housing Project; Transitional Housing Program; Travelers Aid Housing Tower; Urban League of Rhode Island Safe Haven I; Urban League of Rhode Island Safe Haven II; and Winter Avenue.