The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded $15.4 million to Strategies to End Homelessness. The money was part of a larger $1.8 billion nationwide distribution to support services for the homeless, and providing housing and emergency shelters to those that have been living on the streets.
The funds for Cincinnati will go to support 16 local agencies, establish a new rapid rehousing for families program, and two new permanent supportive housing projects for the chronically homeless.
Strategies to End Homelessness was established in 2007 by the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to lead a comprehensive system of care amongst 30 non-profit organizations working. The organization says that their goal is to work with these organizations to reduce homelessness 50% in the city and county by 2017.
Pointing to accomplishments like a centralized emergency shelter hotline, homelessness prevention, street outreach, and establishing emergency shelter and housing solutions; leadership says that the community has been able to increase the number of people served in supportive housing programs by 100% since the organization was formed nearly eight years ago.
Kevin Finn, President and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness, explained to UrbanCincy that the HUD funds they just received are extremely limited relative to the need, and are awarded on a competitive basis. In fact, he says that there was no guarantee that the community would get any assistance at all.
Due to the nature of the program, Finn says that the majority of the funds will work as renewal funding for existing programs at existing agency partners.
“This funding is competitively awarded by HUD and was earned by organizations in our community that have successfully helped many people out of homelessness and back to self-sufficiency,” Finn wrote in a prepared statement. “If we are going to reduce homelessness, we must offer successful housing solutions; HUD funded these programs based on their proven results.”
The new rapid rehousing program will work through a partnership with the Family Housing Partnership that includes Interfaith Hospitality Network, Bethany House Services, Salvation Army, and YWCA to build new rehousing capacity that is specifically made available to families. Nationally, HUD has found that 37% of all homeless people belonged to a family, and that 1.6 million children experience homelessness each year.
Finn says that the permanent supportive housing program will work similarly, but instead coordinate with the Talbert House, Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, Center for Independent Living Options, Freestore Foodbank, Excel Development and Caracole to determine where new capacity is most needed.
Strategies to End Homelessness will work with these organizations, for both new programs, to sort out exactly how much funding to distribute to each participating organization over the next six to eight months, with the funding from HUD being delivered approximately a year from now.