Local groups get $8.4M to fight homelessness

Federal funds increase as Montgomery County approach improves, leaders say.

The federal government has awarded almost $8.4 million to 21 programs in Montgomery County that seek to curb chronic homelessness.

Announced on Monday, the competitive grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will serve about 1,400 local households by paying for transitional housing, permanent supportive housing and support services.

The HUD grants to the Dayton-Kettering-Montgomery County Continuum of Care are the single largest source of funding for the county’s homeless response system, said Kathleen Shanahan, Montgomery County’s coordinator of housing and homeless solutions.

The overall award amount is up from about $7.6 million last year, and the additional funding will help create new housing units benefiting homeless people with disabilities and mental illness.

“All of these grants help people move from homelessness — and whatever their crisis is — to permanent housing,” Shanahan said.

HUD funding increased for projects increased because the county scored in the top 10 percent of continuums nationwide, she said.

“We’ve been able to implement improvements to have a more effective, coordinated system than we had before,” she said.

Of the 21 programs funded by the HUD grant money, 14 are focused on permanent housing and four center on transitional housing. HUD also funded programs that provide supportive services. The county will receive funding for an information-sharing system to help manage the homeless population, as well as money for a planning grant.

The largest individual grant award was $2.1 million and went to Shelter Plus Care, aprogram to provides rental assistance to formerly homeless people with disabilities.

The grant provides housing subsidies for about 400 households.

HUD also handed out an award of almost $97,000 to the HOPE Housing Expansion, which is the county’s newest permanent-supportive housing project, officials said.

HOPE Housing serves about 30 people who are mentally ill and face severe housing instability, and the expansion will mean the program can serve an additional 15 people, officials said.

“It targets a very hard-to-serve population, all of whom are very mentally ill,” Shanahan said.

HUD also funded roughly 35 new units of permanent-supportive housing in Kettering, she said.

Local organizations receiving HUD funding include Daybreak, the city of Dayton, Homefull, Miami Valley Housing Opportunities, Montgomery County, PLACES, St. Vincent de Paul and the YWCA.

“These grants will build upon the (Obama) administration’s ongoing efforts to end homelessness and will assist some of the most vulnerable individuals and families when they need it most,” said Antonio Riley, HUD Midwest regional administrator. “It will lead them on the path towards independence and dignity.”

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