|HUD No. 00-349||For Release|
|December 23, 2000|
PRESIDENT CLINTON ANNOUNCES $1 BILLION TO HELP THE HOMELESS
Largest aid package in history for homeless will go to 2,600 programs throughout the U.S.
WASHINGTON - During his last holiday address to the nation, President Clinton today announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will award more than $1 billion in grants to help homeless individuals and families obtain housing and receive the support services they need to get off the streets and become self-sufficient.
The grants represent the largest amount of homeless assistance in U.S. history, and will go to state and local governments and non-profit organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam to fund more than 2,600 programs designed to end homelessness. More than 200,000 individuals are expected to be helped by the awards.
"Since President Clinton took office in 1993, HUD has invested nearly $6 billion in programs to help the homeless - more than four times as much as was spent from 1987 to 1993," HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said. "This Administration has made a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, those who have not benefited from this nation's great economy. These grants will be a great boost to the organizations dedicated to helping break the cycle of homelessness."
Two types of grants will be awarded:
- Continuum of Care grants, which provide transitional and permanent housing, and such support services as job training, health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, child care and living skills training.
- Emergency Shelter Grants, which help convert buildings into homeless shelters, and fund certain related social services and homeless prevention activities.
The lion's share of the funding, more than $895 million, will be awarded as Continuum of Care grants. These grants provide a flexible framework for each community to use in helping its homeless. The general components are outreach and assessment, emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent housing and permanent supportive housing.
The 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 and is the recipient of Harvard University and the Ford Foundation's prestigious Innovations in American Government Award.
The Continuum of Care grants, first awarded in 1994, have helped more than 400,000 homeless individuals get housing and jobs. Currently, about 6,000 community programs receive the funding. The initiative has been so successful that it has leveraged nearly $2 billion in additional public and private resources, and nearly 2,900 U.S. cities and counties have developed their own program modeled after HUD's.
Nearly $29 million in Continuum of Care grants will go to existing Shelter Plus Care projects, which help pay rent and provide permanent housing for disabled homeless individuals. In addition to shelter, homeless people with disabilities often need medical care and other social services to live independently. Grantees must match the rental assistance with support services that are at least equal in value to the amount of HUD's rental assistance.
"The Continuum of Care initiative has made real and important progress toward creating local systems which truly meet the full range of needs of homeless people from street outreach to permanent housing," said Nan Roman, executive director, National Alliance to End Homelessness. "The Clinton Administration, Secretary Cuomo and HUD are to be commended for the creation of this program which has changed the lives of millions of Americans for the better."
The second type of awards, Emergency Shelter Grants, are formula grants to states and local communities throughout the U.S. to improve the quality and number of emergency homeless shelters. The funds may also be used for covering a shelter's operating expenses, essential services involving employment, health, drug abuse and education, or homelessness prevention activities. Some $150 million of the funding awarded today will be as Emergency Shelter Grants.
Cuomo noted that homeless women with children and veterans will each be served by about 1,350 of the funded projects, 68 of which are targeted for veterans.
According to a recent HUD study, the majority of homeless families who receive housing and support services ultimately find an improved living situation. Homelessness: Programs and People They Serve found that 76 percent of homeless persons living in families and 60 percent of homeless individuals ceased being homeless after completion of the assistance program.
"Homelessness is too often a faceless problem," Cuomo said. "We can't stand by and let this happen. Intervention is the key to turning their lives around."
As part of its on-going effort to highlight the plight of the nation's homeless and encourage more Americans to become involved in helping the homeless become self-sufficient, HUD recently launched its Put a Face on Homelessness media campaign.
The centerpiece of the campaign is public service announcements featuring more than 20 celebrities including Martin Sheen, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, William Baldwin, Christi Brinkley, Whoopi Goldberg, Mandy Patinkin, Sarah Jessica Parker and Ray Romano.
The ABC, CBS and NBC television networks and the Lifetime Channel have agreed to broadcast the PSAs which encourage the public to call HUD at 1-800-HUD-1010 or to log onto HUD's website at www.hud.gov/december.html to get information on ways they can help homeless people in their community.