Homeless Grant Announcement
PREPARED REMARKS FOR
ALPHONSO JACKSON, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2008
Thank you, Mayor (Richard) Daley.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Mr. Mayor, homelessness is cruel and dangerous at any time of year. But it is life-threatening in Midwinter, especially when the winds off Lake Michigan make Chicago one of the coldest places in America. It is imperative that people find warmth and shelter. The homeless must have access to food and health care. We must help them receive vital services. For many we must assist in education and employment efforts. We must do all of this.
So I am pleased to announce that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding $49 million in grants to the City of Chicago to address homelessness. This money will be distributed to more than 140 projects that work to provide a continuum of care for Chicago’s homeless population. For example, 35 projects will be funded that reach out to the chronically homeless. Funding will also be directed to 36 projects that assist the severely mentally ill. We will provide funding for 48 projects that confront substance abuse among the homeless. There is also funding for projects that are targeted to people with HIV/AIDS, victims of domestic violence, troubled youth, and veterans.
These grants are part of a national effort to address homelessness. Last month the department announced grants of more than $1.5 billion nationwide to address the problem of homelessness in America. The grants will help save lives. They will provide assistance across the entire spectrum of homelessness. This continuum of care is vital because homelessness is a complex, difficult, multi-dimensional problem. It is difficult both for those who are homeless and for those who are working to meet the needs of the homeless.
So I am pleased that our national effort to end homelessness has been steadfast, with a bipartisan commitment. Since 2001, HUD has awarded approximately $10 billion in funding to support the housing and service needs of the homeless.
We are especially working hard to end the revolving door for the chronically homeless. Early on in this Administration, President Bush set a goal to end chronic homelessness in America. We must help break a cycle of circumstances and behaviors that consistently place the chronically homeless on the streets.
And there is evidence that we are making some progress. The investment by HUD and local communities like here in Chicago is working. In November, HUD announced that, across the country, local communities saw a nearly 12 percent drop in the number of individuals who literally call the streets their home...and that’s in just one year! That’s nearly 20,000 fewer persons living on our streets. That was good news. It showed that the hard work of thousands of people is paying off…that our efforts can make a powerful, positive difference.
Of course, we still have a long way to go to end chronic homelessness. The chronically homeless are people who are homeless for more than a year or who continue to cycle back into homelessness. They are people who need serious, sustained assistance to overcome their homelessness.
One important tool in this effort has been HUD’s first-ever Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. Through the data collection for the report, and the subsequent analysis of that data, we are learning a great deal about the demographics of homelessness.
With this report, we have a clearer picture that gives us greater insight into the needs of the homeless. With this data, we can now better direct resources to those in need.
We have a lot of work ahead of us to eliminate homelessness in Chicago and throughout America. But I believe these grants will help.
Mr. Mayor, I want to thank you and all of those working to meet the needs of the homeless. Here in Chicago, many inside and outside government have worked very hard, with commitment and concern, to help those who are homeless. So many people have given of themselves, opening their hearts, spending their time, demonstrating a profound sense of humanity and community spirit. These efforts are inspiring...and welcome. I appreciate the tireless work of all involved throughout the entire continuum of care.
Again, thank you.
NOTE: To read the Press Release, visit http://archives.hud.gov/news/2008/pr08-009.cfm