$1.4 billion grants will help fight homelessness

AP News
Posted: Dec 23, 2009 3:29 PM

The Housing and Urban Development Department announced Wednesday nearly $1.4 billion in grants to help fund a record number of programs for the homeless.

The grants will assist 6,445 existing programs around the country, up from $1.2 billion to fund 5,825 ongoing projects last year. This includes more than $733 million for 3,200 programs that serve families with children.

"We all know that this has been an extraordinarily difficult year for families," Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said on a conference call with reporters.

This is a growing area of concern for the agency, especially in suburban and rural areas where family homelessness has increased more than 50 percent since last year, Donovan said.

"Homelessness can touch every community, every type of community, every place," he said.

The agency estimates that every year more than 1.6 million people use emergency or transitional housing programs, which are some of the recipients of these grants. Other grant recipients provide job training, health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and child care for the homeless.

Wednesday's announcement is for grants that are being renewed. The agency will announce grants for new programs early in 2010.