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PRESIDENT CLINTON ANNOUNCES $900 MILLION IN HOMELESS ASSISTANCE
WASHINGTON - President Clinton today announced $900 million in grants to provide an estimated 245,000 homeless people with housing, job training, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and other services to help them permanently escape homelessness over the next three years, and to provide emergency shelter to thousands of others.
The grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development will go to more than 350 communities, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American territories. In addition, more than 1,000 non-profit organizations such as the Salvation Army, Volunteers of America and Catholic Charities will receive funding for homeless assistance programs.
"Here at home we are reaching out to the poor - to those who do not yet share in America's growing prosperity," the President said. "We are making new efforts to reach out to the homeless - to help them find housing, medical care and jobs."
HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said: "The tragedy of homelessness can be reversed, one person at a time, when we give homeless people the opportunity to turn their lives around. Our programs have a proven record of success that we will build on with the grants we're awarding today."
A total of $750 million of the HUD assistance announced today is targeted to 1,834 long-term programs to help individuals and families permanently end their homeless status, as part of HUD's Continuum of Care approach to addressing homelessness. These competitive grants are awarded to states, local governments and non-profit groups based on a number of factors that measure the effectiveness of their plans.
The remaining $150 million in funds are for Emergency Shelter Grants that provide food and shelter on a short-term basis to homeless people. These grants are awarded through a formula based on a community's housing and poverty needs. States and cities select projects to receive funding.
In addition, HUD is advancing nearly $8 million in funds from next year's homeless grants to renew funding for supportive housing programs in 35 communities to enable them to continue operations.
President Clinton successfully won approval of increased funding for homeless assistance programs to $1.02 billion in his fiscal 1999 budget, up from $975 million the previous year.
HUD has invested nearly $5 billion in programs to help homeless Americans since President Clinton took office in 1993. That's more than three times as much as the $1.5 billion HUD spent on homeless assistance programs from the time they were created in 1987 until 1993.
Earlier this month, HUD released the most comprehensive study to date of homelessness, The Forgotten Americans - Homelessness: Programs and People They Serve. The landmark study reported that most people who become homeless have suffered severe hardships - including physical and sexual abuse, childhood trauma, poverty, a poor education, disability and disease - but are successful in escaping homelessness when they get help from federal and other programs.
The report said the top priority of homeless people it surveyed was to get a job - the first step to self-sufficiency. It said 44% of homeless people surveyed worked at least part-time during the past month.
The study also said that when homeless people get housing assistance and needed services - such as health care, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, education and job training - 76% of those living in families and 60% of those living alone end their homeless status and move to an improved living situation after completion of the assistance program.
The report is based on interviews completed in 1996 with 4,207 people - most homeless at the time and the rest of them people living in poverty who benefit from homeless assistance programs such as soup kitchens. The study is also based on interviews with representatives of 11,909 programs that serve homeless people. Interviews were conducted in 76 metropolitan areas, small cities and rural areas. The U.S. Census Bureau collected the data and the report was prepared by the Urban Institute.
HUD's Continuum of Care initiative, which was developed by Cuomo when he was an Assistant Secretary at HUD, is the centerpiece of the federal policy on homelessness.
Recently the Continuum of Care program received the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the Ford Foundation for its broad-based approach to helping homeless people take control of their lives, reunite with their families, and become productive members of society.
Cuomo said the Continuum of Care approach has been successful because it brings together non-profit groups, the private sector and local and state governments in a partnership to design local programs to help homeless people become self-sufficient.
The CBS television network and local TV stations around the nation this week began airing public service announcements developed for HUD that focus attention on homeless people. The following actors have already taped public service announcements (PSAs): William Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, Roma Downey, Kevin Kline, Sarah Jessica Parker, Glenn Close, Ted Danson, Ray Romano, Nathan Lane, and Matthew Broderick. In addition, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Miss America Heather French, boxing announcer Roy Jones, Jr., and model Heidi Klum have taped PSAs. Actors Marisa Tomei, Rosie O'Donnell, and James Gandolfini plan to tape PSAs, as does model Christie Brinkley.
The HUD campaign to increase public awareness of homelessness is called Put a Face on Homelessness. The PSAs that are part of the campaign encourage viewers to call HUD at 1-800-HUD-1010 or to log onto HUD's website - www.hud.gov - to get information on what they can do to help homeless people get housing, move toward self-sufficiency, and improve their lives.
By identifying their home Zip Code, people contacting HUD at the phone number or on the Internet can get the name and phone numbers of nearby homeless facilities, so they can volunteer their time or make a donation to help homeless people.
LISTING OF HUD HOMELESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM GRANTS BY STATE*
Content Archived: January 20, 2009
Content Archived: January 20, 2009