HUD Awards $1.8B in Continuum of Care Grants
The U.S. HUD announced $1.8 billion in grants have been awarded to 8,400 local homeless and housing service programs across the country
What Happened?The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $1.8 billion in grants have been awarded to 8,400 local homeless and housing service programs across the country. The grant funding is being administered through the department’s Continuum of Care initiative.
Continuum of CareThe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care program is designed to aid local efforts to end homelessness by providing housing and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The goal of the Continuum of Care program is to rehouse homeless individuals and families quickly and efficiently while minimizing trauma and dislocation. Furthermore, the program aims to:
- Promote access to and effect utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families
- Optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness
- Provide tools and trainings to help local organizations strengthen the reach and success of their homeless initiatives
This year’s round of funding is in support of existing operations and projects across the country, as well as assisting 25 new projects that will provide permanent supportive housing to end chronic homelessness in high-need areas.
In Oklahoma, for example, the Continuum of Care initiative awarded $7.8 million in grants to support 72 homeless housing and service programs statewide. Throughout Oklahoma, homeless initiatives are offering a wide array of services to populations in need including:
- Street outreach
- Client assessment
- Direct housing assistance
The federal funding will be used to connect homeless individuals and families with permanent and transitional housing, as well as job training and healthcare resources, Washington Times reported.
Ending HomelessnessA growing volume of research underscores the success of certain types of homeless initiatives that focus on housing at-risk populations as quickly as possible before offering other social services. This Housing First approach offers permanent, affordable housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness before connecting them with supportive services and connecting them to other organizations in the community.
The argument for Housing First’s success is that permanent housing creates a strong foundation from which individuals and families can gain stability while recovering from past trauma. The sense of safety that comes with permanent housing enables populations in-need to overcome obstacles faster before pursuing personal goals and achieving self-sufficiency and financial freedom. By providing housing as quickly as possible, homeless programs place participants in a better position to take full advantage of supportive services and avoid returning to homelessness in the future.
In Camden County, New Jersey, a Housing First strategy has been put into place to protect homeless individuals and families before working to address mental, behavioral or addiction problems they may be trying to overcome. The Housing First model has reported a 90 percent success rate in other cities where it has been deployed such as San Francisco, Denver and Philadelphia – compared to just a 15 percent success rate with a more traditional approach.
Not only does the Housing First approach offer stronger outcomes for homeless participants seeking long-term stability, it is also a bargain for taxpayers. Camden County and the state of New Jersey could stand to save $10,000 per person annually through the Housing First model due to homeless populations spending less time in hospitals and emergency rooms or in jail – which are all costly to taxpayers, NJ.com reported.
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