Eight Humboldt County homeless assistance programs have received federal funding totaling more than $647,000 to help keep people off the streets.
The funds are part of $1.56 billion in Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance grants awarded in April by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to renew funding to more than 7,100 homeless programs across the nation.
Locally, grant renewals were awarded to the Arcata House Partnership, Humboldt Bay Housing and Development Corp., Redwood Community Action Agency (RCAA) and the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Each of these entities is a member of the Humboldt Housing and Homeless Coalition (HHHC), which also received HUD funding for its Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), a database used to gather local information about homelessness.
“This money will help these groups and the HHHC in general to continue to provide essential services and supports to homeless people in our community throughout the coming year,” said Barbara LaHaie, DHHS assistant director of programs and co-chair of the HHHC.
The HHHC is a coalition of housing advocates, businesses, funders, elected officials, service and housing providers, faith-based organizations and other community stakeholders working together to identify and address local housing needs. In Humboldt County, it is the lead organization for homeless issues and the federally designated Continuum of Care.
Most of the $647,055 in local grant funding will be used for permanent supportive housing programs, which provide rental assistance and supportive services to chronically homeless people with one or more serious disabling conditions. Supportive services may include counseling, medication support, linkage to medical care, case management services, training in independent living skills, substance abuse disorder support and other services that can help a client maintain housing.
“Permanent supportive housing is designed for very vulnerable people who may be highly visible in the community and frequent utilizers of emergency services, hospitals, police and fire department interventions and psychiatric hospitals,” said DHHS Senior Program Manager Sally Hewitt.
This year, Arcata House Partnership will receive $316,493 from HUD for its Apartments First! and SVK House permanent supportive housing programs. The Humboldt Bay Housing and Development Corp. will be awarded $27,721, also for permanent supportive housing.
DHHS received $44,671 for its Humboldt Housing permanent supportive housing program for chronically homeless people with serious mental illness. The department also received $45,431 for its HIV/AIDS Re-Housing Team, also known as Project HART, for chronically homeless disabled people and/or families living with HIV/AIDS.
“Stable housing is significant in contributing to positive health outcomes for individuals,” said DHHS Program Services Coordinator Michael Weiss, who oversees the project. “The HUD funding that has supported Project HART for the past couple of years has been invaluable in the lives of participants. These funds have supported five individuals in establishing permanent housing, developing a positive rental history and becoming more self-sufficient through independent skills building trainings.”
This year, RCAA received $39,092 for the Youth Service Bureau Launch Pad transitional living program for homeless youth or youth fleeing from dangerous living situations. RCAA was also awarded $104,147 for the Multiple Assistance Center (MAC), a transitional housing program for families. Both of these programs are designed to move people toward self-sufficiency.
“RCAA’s Youth Service Bureau joins other Continuum of Care agencies in thanking HUD for their continuing support of our programs,” said Maura Eastman, RCAA’s Youth Service Bureau director. “For 10 years, HUD has been a valuable partner in the efforts to end homelessness. The funding is key to the work YSB does to reduce youth homelessness as it is to other service providers committed to serving the needs of the homeless. This is an investment in individuals and our community that is most welcome.”
A total of $69,500 was also awarded this year to Humboldt County’s HMIS. HUD provides funding to DHHS to administer the countywide database on behalf of the HHHC.
These annual HUD grants are awarded competitively to local programs across the country to meet the needs of their homeless clients. The grants fund a wide variety of programs, from outreach and assessment to direct housing assistance and other activities for homeless people and families.