HUD Awards $12.7 Million To WNY For Homeless

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday that they have funded $12.7 million to support 34 homeless housing and service programs in Western New York.

The Continuum of Care grants will provide needed housing and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Continuums of Care serving Western New York, which cover Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Chautauqua, and Cattaraugus Counties, have been challenged by HUD to support higher performing local programs that have proven most effective in meeting their challenges, often shifting funds from existing projects to create new ones that will have a more substantial and lasting impact on reducing homelessness.

Four programs received $224,360 in funding in Chautauqua County. Those programs included the Chautauqua Permanent Housing for Individuals with Mental Illness, which received $96,635; Chautauqua Homeless Management Information System, which received 20,976; Continuums of Care fiscal year 2017 planning application, which received $22,461; and Shelter Plus Care Project, which received $84,288.

The HUD funding announced Thursday is part of a record $2 billion being awarded to more than 7,300 local housing and service programs nationwide. Locally, Western New York received a 3 percent increase over the previous funding cycle, which will bring approximately $360,000 more dollars to the area to combat homelessness.

“HUD stands with our local partners who are working each and every day to house and serve our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Ben Carson, HUD secretary. “We know how to end homelessness and it starts with embracing a housing-first approach that relies upon proven strategies that offer permanent housing solutions to those who may otherwise be living in our shelters and on our streets.”

Last month, HUD reported homelessness crept up in the U.S., especially among individuals experiencing long-term chronic homelessness. HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that 553,742 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017, an increase of .7 percent since last year. Homelessness among families with children declined 5.4 percent nationwide since 2016, and local communities report the number of persons experiencing long-term chronic homelessness and Veterans increased.

HUD estimates there were 1,042 persons experiencing homelessness in the Western New York on a single night in 2017, a 3 percent increase since last year. In addition, Veteran homelessness decreased by 4.1 percent, chronic homelessness decreased by 35.9 percent and family homelessness increased by 4 percent.

According to the point-in-time estimates by Continuums of Care, the homelessness numbers for Jamestown increased significantly between 2016 and 2017. In January 2017, there were 83 homeless people in Jamestown. Of the 83, three were considered to be unsheltered homeless. In 2016, there were only 23 homeless, with all being considered sheltered.

In 2017, there were 41 individual homeless while there were 42 homeless in a family in Jamestown. In 2016, there were 16 individual homeless while there were seven homeless in a family in the city.

Across the nation, local homelessness planning agencies called ‘Continuums of Care’ will organize volunteers to help count the number of persons located in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and living unsheltered on the streets. These Continuums of Care will report these one-night ‘point-in-time counts’ later in the year and will form the basis of HUD’s 2018 national homeless estimate.