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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 97-300
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-1420Monday
Or contact your local HUD officeDecember 22, 1997


WASHINGTON -- Vice President Al Gore and Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced $865 million in assistance to help homeless Americans find housing and become self-supporting, and said over 200,000 books have been collected as part of a new drive to distribute a half-million donated books to homeless children.

The $865 million in Department of Housing and Urban Development assistance will go to 320 communities, all 50 state governments, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The book drive announced today has already collected 205,000 books -- 100,000 from Disney Publishing, 60,000 from Simon and Schuster, Inc., and 45,000 from Time Warner, Inc. That's more than one book for each of the estimated 165,000 homeless children in the nation. Other publishers are also expected to make donations.

"Especially in this holiday season, we must all recommit ourselves to helping homeless Americans achieve what most of us take for granted -- a safe place to live and the opportunity to become responsible, self-sufficient citizens," Vice President Gore said. "These new resources will go a long way toward helping our communities to achieve that goal."

"We are giving some of the most vulnerable Americans a second chance to reach for the American Dream," Cuomo said. "Our grants will literally save the lives of homeless people and help them build new lives by getting jobs, becoming self-supporting, and moving into permanent homes. Our book drive will give children without homes a precious gift to call their own -- books that will open new worlds to their growing minds."

A total of $700 million of the HUD assistance announced today is in the form of Continuum of Care competitive grants to governments and non-profit groups to provide long-term solutions to homelessness. In all, 1,396 homeless assistance projects will get these grants and at least 330,000 homeless people will be assisted.

Besides providing homeless people with transitional and permanent housing, the competitive grants will fund local programs such as job training, child care, substance abuse treatment and mental health services to enable homeless people to get jobs and build independent lives to the extent possible.

The other $165 million in assistance announced today is funding for the Emergency Shelter Grants program, which is distributed through a formula based on a community's housing and poverty needs. States and cities select local projects to receive the funding.

Gloria Dubissette, a formerly homeless resident of Washington, D.C., appeared at the news conference with her 4-year-old daughter, Michaela, to say HUD homeless assistance "gave me a chance to climb out of homelessness and build a better life for me and my daughter." Today, Dubissette has an apartment and is a student at the University of the District of Columbia, studying for her nursing degree. "Thank you for a new chance at life," she told Cuomo and the Vice President.

About 30 homeless children gathered at HUD headquarters for today's announcement and became the first youngsters to receive donated books. In addition, books were distributed to three homeless services providers who came to the announcement from the Washington, D.C. area.

The book drive is part of HUD's Take Ten Homeless Campaign. The unprecedented national initiative is designed to recruit more Americans to help homeless people become self-sufficient.

The Vice President and Cuomo urged Americans to join the book drive by donating books to local homeless shelters in their communities. People who need help identifying a local shelter can call HUD's Homeless Information Line -- 1-800-HUD-1010. The toll-free line, which is answered by operators from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time on weekdays, connects callers from around the country with their local homeless services providers.

Bob Miller, Vice President and Group Publisher for Disney Publishing, said: "I can think of no finer gift for a child than a book, which is capable of sparking curiosity and opening doors to new and broader vistas. This is a valuable program."

Jonathan Newcomb, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon and Schuster, a unit of Viacom, Inc., said: "We're happy to provide additional children's books to make this a brighter holiday season for homeless boys and girls." Simon and Schuster's Partnership for Family Independence and Invest Learning earlier donated more than 500,000 books to other HUD programs.

Gerald M. Levin, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner, said: "We at Time Warner believe that our role as the world's premier publisher and programmer gives us a special responsibility -- and a special opportunity -- to address the literacy needs of disadvantaged children. We have been aggressively doing so for more than a decade."

Former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Publishers, which will work with publishers to collect more donated books, said: "Every American needs to know that reading out loud to children is as important as fastening their seatbelt. Hurray for HUD to make sure that every family has access to books."

The funding announced today supports HUD's Continuum of Care strategy, which works to find permanent solutions to homelessness by providing homeless people with opportunities to find long-term housing and to become self-sufficient. Continuum of Care is the centerpiece of the federal policy on homelessness announced by President Clinton in 1994.

A Columbia University study concluded a year ago that HUD's homeless policies -- which were developed and overseen by Cuomo when he was an Assistant Secretary -- "have had a positive impact on communities across the nation" and were an improvement from past efforts that focused on short-term emergency shelter.

Cuomo said the Continuum of Care approach has been successful because it brings together in partnership non-profit groups, the private sector and local and state governments in an effort to design local strategies that address local needs.

Key elements of the Continuum of Care approach are:
    • Outreach and assessment efforts to identify individual and family needs and make connections to facilities and services.

    • Provision of emergency shelter and appropriate social services as safe alternatives to the streets.

    • Transitional housing and necessary social services to help people move to permanent housing and independent living.

    • Permanent housing to help meet the long-term needs of homeless individuals and families.
HUD 1997 Continuum of Care Awards - State List
HUD 1997 Continuum of Care Awards - Write-ups
HUD 1997 Continuum of Care Awards - State Totals


Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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