HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 03-098
Brian Sullivan
(202) 708-0685 x 7527

For Release
October 01, 2003

HHS, HUD, VA and Labor collaborate to help most vulnerable

WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez today announced the award of nearly $35 million to help meet the Bush administration's goal of ending chronic homelessness within a decade. Martinez, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao made the announcement during a meeting of the Interagency Council on Homelessness at the White House. This is the first time federal agencies have collaborated on this scale to offer communities the opportunity to integrate resources that address the special housing and service needs of chronically homeless persons.

An additional $40 million will be distributed in other grants that also address chronic homelessness. Today's announcements signal a new and growing federal collaboration among 20 federal agencies and departments to help end long-term or chronic homelessness in America. Taken together, these joint funding initiatives are aimed at helping local communities address the special housing and service needs of homeless persons - many of whom have mental illness, substance dependence or abuse, and physical disabilities.

"These programs reflect the combined energies of our departments toward protecting and enhancing the well being of chronically homeless persons, some of our nation's most vulnerable neighbors," HHS Secretary Thompson said. "In the U.S. approximately 200,000 people are chronically homeless. The large majority of these individuals have serious and disabling health conditions, including psychiatric and substance use disorders. Together our agencies have taken real steps to connect our resources to help end chronic homelessness and to prevent the cycle of chronic homelessness in the future."

HUD Secretary Martinez said, " Today we announce this nation's first investment toward meeting this Administration's goal of ending chronic homelessness in a decade. Mental illness, addiction or physical disability should not disqualify a person from access to a home, health care or other services necessary for them to share in the American dream."

"In keeping with the promise of President Bush's New Freedom Initiative and his goal of ending chronic homelessness, today's grant awards will expand the delivery and implementation of 'customized employment' strategies for people with disabilities, so that they may live, work and fully participate in their communities," Labor Secretary Chao said. "Our collaborative efforts will bring a better way to help individuals with disabilities out of chronic homelessness."

"I am especially pleased that all of the programs receiving Interagency Council grants provide critical services to homeless veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi. "This unprecedented interagency cooperation reflects President Bush's determination to include homeless veterans in our efforts to end chronic homelessness in America."

"People experiencing chronic homelessness are disproportionately on the streets and these initiatives are intended to create a visible and measurable change for that population," said Philip Mangano, Executive Director of the ICH. "This is the first time federal agencies have collaborated on this scale to improve the delivery of federal homelessness assistance across the country. The development of more effective service delivery through such interagency collaborations is a key theme of the Interagency Council's work".

HUD-HHS-VA Partnership

Included in today's announcement, local programs in 11 cities will receive nearly $35 million to provide permanent housing, health care, mental health, substance abuse and veterans services to persons experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness. HUD ($19.3 million), HHS ($10.3 million), and VA ($4.6 million) are undertaking this joint program to help meet the special needs of homeless individuals and veterans by placing them in housing and providing an array of treatments and services that will help them permanently exit from long-term homelessness.

Community partnerships in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Los Angeles; Martinez, California; New York City; Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; and, San Francisco will receive funding under this initiative.

Labor-HUD Partnership

Today's announcement also includes grants and technical assistance totaling $13.5 million to help persons experiencing long-term homelessness to achieve employment, permanent housing, and self-sufficiency. DOL (approximately $3.5 million) and HUD ($10 million) are providing assistance to help chronically homeless persons living in five communities to gain employment and a permanent place to live.

VA Programs

The VA today awarded grants totaling $12.5 million to 66 agencies that provide essential services to homeless veterans. Recipients were nonprofit and faith-based organizations, as well as state, local and Indian tribal governments. In the past nine years, the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program has awarded more than 300 grants for transitional housing and service centers, for renovations needed to meet fire and safety code requirements and for vehicles to transport homeless veterans to needed services and places of employment. The VA's grants, totaling more than $75 million to public and nonprofit groups in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, will support more than 8,200 transitional housing beds for homeless veterans.

Today's announcement also includes a new request for applications by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for $8 million to assist with outreach and enrollment efforts for homeless people eligible for Social Security benefits and SSI, including a focus on chronically homeless persons. SSA will use these 2003 funds to improve the quality of assistance that medical and social service providers offer to homeless persons, including those with disabilities. In addition, HUD will shortly be announcing the availability of $6.5 million in HOME funds for the development of rental housing units for chronically homeless persons.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.



Content Archived: April 22, 2010