Monday, May 20, 2013

Over $4 Million in Federal Funds to Help Homeless Families in Illinois

Earlier this month, Shaun Donovan, the Secretary for U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), awarded nearly $4.7 million in grants to a total of 42 homeless housing service programs in Illinois.  These funds may provide much needed help to struggling families who were forced out of their homes during the mortgage crisis.

The money comes through HUD’s “Continuum of Care” programs, and HUD indicated that the recent funds will ensure that local homeless assistance programs can continue to operate throughout the year and into next year, as well.
For the HUD press release on the Illinois grant, Donovan said, “we know these modest investments in housing and serving our homeless neighbors not only saves money, but saves lives . . . .  These local programs are on the front lines of the Obama Administration’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness as we know it once and for all.”
What is Continuum of Care?
According to HUD, Continuum of Care is made up of three competitively awarded programs.  Each of them addresses different problems related to homelessness and works in conjunction with other federal agencies to help individual persons and families who have lost their homes.
The three programs include:
·      Supportive Housing Program (SHP): this program helps to develop housing and other related services for homeless persons and families who are transitioning to independent living.  Its funds also provide other resources to homeless persons and families that can help with finding a stable place to live and acquiring new skills to ensure steady employment income.

·      Shelter Plus Care (S + C): this program helps with rental assistance.  When it’s combined with other social services, it “provides supportive housing for homeless people with disabilities and their families.”  It allows for multiple housing options, including group homes and individual living spaces.  It’s also combined with a variety of other supportive services.

·      Single Room Occupancy (SRO): this program helps with Section 8 rental assistance.  It provides funds for the “moderate rehabilitations of buildings” that contain single-room apartments that are designed for individual use.  Through the program, a public housing authority provides the landlords with Section 8 payments when homeless people rent their rehabilitated units.
What Are Continuum of Care Grants?
HUD explains that these grants are awarded on a competitive basis to “local projects to meet the needs of their homeless clients.”  The funding goes toward programs that deal with with street outreach and assessment for helping homeless people and families to find transition and permanent housing.  According to Antonio R. Riley, HUD’s Midwest Regional Administration, “these programs work and we know these grants can mean the difference between homeless persons and families finding stable housing or living on the streets.”  He went on to note that these programs also “provide meaningful and stable platforms of hope for a better life for the homeless,” which “enhances the entire community.”
These funds could have a serious impact on certain Chicago neighborhoods that have been negatively affected by the housing crisis, and they could help a lot of struggling families in our area to find homes.  If you or a loved one have lost your home as a result of the mortgage crisis, an experienced attorney can discuss your options with you today.
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