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August 5, 2010
HUD PROVIDES RENTAL ASSISTANCE VOUCHERS TO HELP 183 MORE NORTHWEST FAMILIES STAY TOGETHER
Seattle, King County, Thurston County Malheur County housing authorities win total of more than $1.5 million in rental assistance to keep children out
of foster care, young adults from homelessness and reunite families "under one roof"
SEATTLE - An additional 180 Northwest families with children in foster care in Seattle, King County, Thurston County and Malheur County should be able to reunite thanks to a total of $1,563,156 in Family Unification Program (FUP) rental assistance vouchers competitively awarded today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
As a result of today's announcement, the Malheur County Housing Authority will receive $107,379 to fund an estimated 25 additional FUP rental vouchers, the Seattle Housing Authority will receive $1,045,308 for 100 additional vouchers, the Thurston County Housing Authority will receive $313,872 for 50 additional vouchers and the King County Housing Authority will receive $96,597 for an additional 8 vouchers.
Across the United States, thousands of children live in foster care or are at risk of being placed with other families simply because their parents cannot afford a home. As one "single dad" receiving a FUP voucher from the Vancouver Housing Authority under a previous year's grant award, "there are very limited housing resources out there for men...
I feel like I got the golden ticket and I am not going to waste this great opportunity because it will allow me to really better myself. It was a huge factor in both of my kids coming back to me."
"The foster care system is an important safety net for children when there's no alternative, but not having the
means to obtain affordable housing is hardly a good reason for families to be divided," said U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Thankfully these vouchers will keep thousands of families together under
Today's awards to Washington and Oregon housing authorities was part of an announcement by HUD awarding $20 million in FUP funds to local housing authorities to help more than 2,500 families stay together nationwide. It's estimated that the rental vouchers awarded today will reunite nearly 5,000 children with their parents or prevent them from entering foster care in the first place.
HUD's Family Unification Program (FUP) will make 2,543 Housing Choice Vouchers available for families whose inadequate housing is the primary cause of their separation or near separation from their children. In addition, 20 percent of these vouchers will provide stable housing for approximately 750 young adults (ages 18-22) who are
aging out of the foster care system, preventing them from becoming homelessness.
The funding is awarded to local public housing authorities that work closely with local child welfare agencies to identify families with children in foster care or who are at risk of being placed in foster care and youth at risk of homelessness. These vouchers, like regular Housing Choice Vouchers, allow families to rent housing from private landlords and generally pay 30 percent of the family's monthly adjusted gross income towards rent and utilities.
According to the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (NCHCW), the average annual cost of providing
foster care for one family's children is $56,892. By contrast, it costs approximately $13,193 a year to provide rental assistance and supportive services for that same family. Since FUP provides affordable housing to this targeted population, it's estimated that the total yearly savings to the foster care system is more than $142 million. Cost savings are also considerable for young people aging out of foster care. The average annual FUP costs for young adults is $5,600 - a tenth of the estimated costs associated with homelessness, incarceration, and residential treatment.
"The Family Unification Program exemplifies Secretary Donovan's commitment to interagency coordination and
resource sharing," said Ruth White, Executive Director of NCHCW. "FUP will enable housing and social service
providers to work together to apply resources where they are most needed to prevent and end homelessness for thousands of children and youth nationwide - and ultimately save money along the way."
The funds announced today include $5.4 million HUD awarded earlier this year to housing authorities in California, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois and Washington. Those housing authorities submitted applications that
were eligible for funding last year but did not receive funding because all available funds were exhausted. Those housing authorities are: Stanislaus (CA) Housing Authority; Santa Barbara (CA) Housing Authority; Alameda (CA) Housing Authority; Kern (CA) Housing Authority, Santa Clara County (CA) Housing Authority; Sonoma County (CA) Community Development Commission; Delaware State Housing Authority; Lee County (FL) Housing Authority; DuPage (IL) Housing Authority; Lynn (MA) Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development; and the Housing Authority of
the City of Vancouver (WA).
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.