|HUD No. 11-06
February 7, 2011
REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR ADOLFO CARRIÓN AND CONGRESSMAN ISRAEL VISIT LONG ISLAND NONPROFIT TO ASSESS THE IMPACT OF HUD FUNDING ON HOMELESS FAMILIES
NEW YORK - To better understand the scope and breadth of homelessness in Long Island, Regional Administrator Adolfo Carrión was joined by Congressman Steve Israel and Greta Guarton, Executive Director of the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (LICH), to see first-hand how HUD funding is being used to aid families seeking housing and support services. Mr. Carrión and Congressman Israel listened to stories of LICH clients who have received counseling, supportive services and permanent housing in the hope of becoming self-sufficient. Just recently HUD awarded Long Island homeless providers $11 million to continue the operation of dozens of providers of services to the homeless throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties, and last week LICH conducted a "point in time" survey to gauge the number of homeless people living on Long Island streets.
"It takes ample resources, staff, and time to provide the homeless with the care and support they need," said Carrión. "That is why it is so important to ensure that our federal dollars are spent wisely and appropriately. I feel encouraged that the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless is doing just that in its coordination with the dozens of homeless providers based in Nassau and Suffolk. It is my hope that on Long Island and throughout New York State, our non-profit partners will be able to continue to combat homelessness and provide families and individuals, who have fallen on hard times, the tools they need to gain self-sufficiency."
"The recession and housing crisis has been a perfect storm for too many families," Israel said. "It put them in a position they never dreamed of--struggling to afford housing. Successful housing and support programs have never been more important. The $11 million provided by HUD will go a long way to keep these families on their feet."
"The HUD funds awarded to Long Island agencies will keep 2,700 Long Islanders out of shelters and in safe, stable housing. The programs supported by these funds provide crucial housing and services for the most vulnerable Long Islanders," said Guarton.
The press conference was held at a residential program operated by Concern for Independent Living, a nonprofit advocacy group that helps persons with mental illness by providing safe, affordable housing and varying levels of support.
Several clients served by HUD programs spoke about their experiences on the street and how LICH's program and services were able to secure them housing and support services. Homeless and formerly homeless individuals and families spoke of the challenges they faced before receiving assistance, and the difference their new housing has made in their lives.
Last year HUD conducted a survey which found that homelessness remained steady at about 1.6 million people but that the percentage of rural or suburban homelessness rose from 23 percent to 32 percent nationwide. Also, the 2009 HUD report which reflects the 12 months ending September 30, 2008, found the number of sheltered homeless families across the U.S. grew from about 473,000 to 517,000. It is estimated that between Nassau and Suffolk counties there are approximately 3,000 homeless individuals receiving housing or support services.
The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (NICH) is a bi-county membership organization whose mission is to reduce homelessness on Long Island. Since its creation in 1985, NSCH has grown to coordinate the efforts of nearly 125 member agencies that provide housing and services for people who are homeless. LICH also administers the Continuum of Care program and provides technical assistance to organizations interested in developing affordable housing. Last year's Long Island point in time survey, conducted with the help of LICH found almost 2,500 persons in Suffolk living either in shelters or transitional housing, while in Nassau, over 700 persons were living in shelters or transitional housing.
For a single night during the last week in January, homeless providers in virtually every community across the country collect "Point in Time" data on the number and demographics of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. A crucial component of Opening Doors - thefederal plan to end homelessness - HUD's Let's Make Everybody Count! campaign is intended to document trends in homelessness and help local, state and federal partners make effective use of taxpayer resources. LICH conducted its Nassau "Point In Time" on January 25 and Suffolk "Point in Time" on January 27th.
HUD's homeless grants provide 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. The grants are awarded competitively to local programs to meet the needs of their homeless clients. These grants fund a wide variety of programs from street outreach and assessment programs to transitional and permanent housing for homeless persons and families. These grants form a critical foundation for the Obama Administration's Opening Doors strategy, the nation's first comprehensive plan to prevent and end homelessness. This comprehensive plan is the first of its kind and strives to prevent and end chronic and veterans homelessness by 2015; and to end homelessness among children, family and youth by 2020.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.