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HUD Archives: News Releases
CUOMO AWARDS $46.8 MILLION IN FAMILY UNIFICATION GRANTS TO HELP 7,000 LOW-INCOME FAMILIES STAY TOGETHER
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded public housing authorities $46.8 million in Family Unification Grants to help members of about 7,000 low-income families stay together despite housing crises.
Housing authorities in 31 states, Puerto Rico and Guam will receive the grants, which fund rental assistance subsidies that enable parents to pay just 30 percent of their income to rent privately owned apartments.
Families benefiting from the Family Unification Program have separated or are about to be separated because of domestic violence, homelessness or unsafe housing conditions. The families are primarily single mothers and their children who are homeless, battered women who have fled their homes with their children to escape abusive husbands or boyfriends, and families living in slum housing unfit for children to occupy.
"Parents want to raise their own children, and children want to grow up with their parents," Cuomo said. "These grants make it possible for families in desperate need to stay together or reunite, by giving them the opportunity to move into safe and affordable housing."
A local child welfare agency will remove a child from a family when it considers housing conditions to be dangerous. A child welfare agency will also refuse to discharge a child from foster care into a dangerous housing situation.
Dangerous housing situations can be defined as: 1) Unsafe or unsound physical structures in a home - such a leaky roof, broken doors and windows, dangerous stairs, no indoor plumbing, or a gas leak. 2) Rat and insect infestations. 3) Domestic violence. 4) Homelessness.
Local housing authorities in the following states (plus Puerto Rico and Guam) will receive Family Unification Grants (see attachment listing amounts going to each housing authority): Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Wisconsin.
The Child Welfare League of America and its more than 1,000 member social service agencies work closely with HUD on the Family Unification Program.
"Under Secretary Cuomo's leadership and support for the Family Unification Program, more than 50,000 children and their families have been able to obtain affordable housing and reduce their involvement in the foster care system," said David S. Liederman, Executive Director of Child Welfare League of America.
To receive assistance under the Family Unification Grant Program, a family must meet the income qualifications for HUD's tenant-based Section 8 Rental Assistance Program. This requires a family to have no more than 80 percent of the area median income. In addition, a public child welfare agency must certify that housing conditions will force the agency to remove a child from a family or force a delay in returning a child to a family because of dangerous housing conditions.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009