HUD No. 08-093
June 26, 2008
HUD SECRETARY HIGHLIGHTS FAITH-BASED CONTRIBUTIONS TO FIGHTING HOMELESSNESS
WASHINGTON - Faith-based organizations are making a huge difference in the Bush Administration's efforts to reduce homelessness, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston said today. Addressing the White House National Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Conference, Preston highlighted the Administration's partnership with faith-based and community organizations and steps being taken to reduce chronic homelessness, especially among veterans.
"The Faith-Based and Community Initiative combines the strengths of the public and private sectors to make our social programs work better," said Preston. "There is a vast, network of partnerships between HUD, local communities and nonprofit organizations around the country. These partnerships are incredibly effective in helping to reduce the number of persons who are calling the streets their home."
In 2002, the Administration declared that ending chronic homelessness was a national priority. From 2005 to 2006, communities across the country reported an approximate 12 percent decrease in the number of chronically homeless individuals. This translates into more than 20,000 fewer individuals living on the streets or in emergency shelters. This reduction is directly attributed to the investment HUD and local "continuums of care" are devoting to create more permanent supportive housing units.
"We are part of a new way of making a difference. Our work on homelessness would not be as comprehensive or successful without partnership with faith-based groups," Prestonnoted.
Last year, HUD announced grants of $1.5 billion nationwide to address homelessness. Since 2001, the Bush Administration has provided approximately $10 billion to support housing and services for the homeless. The President's is seeking $1.6 billion for HUD's Continuum of Care homeless assistance grant programs in his Fiscal Year 2009 proposed budget.
From 2003-2006, the number of direct nonprofit grantees of HUD's Continuum of Care program grew by nearly 500 organizations. Since 2003, HUD has provided funding for more than 42,000 new, permanent, supportive housing beds, most of which were created through faith-based and community organizations, who are vital stakeholders in every local community.
Thanks to Congress and the President, in April 2008, HUD announced $75 million to provide permanent supportive housing for an estimated 10,000 homeless veterans nationwide. HUD's Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH), a joint program between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, provides local public housing agencies with approximately 10,000 rental assistance vouchers specifically targeted to assist homeless veterans in their area. The Bush Administration has requested another $75 million in the Fiscal Year 2009 budget, which would house and serve an additional 10,000 homeless veterans.
In addition, HUD has also trained more than 40,000 nonprofit leaders in grant writing and other skills and offered almost 300 training seminars, many of which involved faith-based groups.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; 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 and espanol.hud.gov. For more information about FHA products, please visit www.fha.gov.