The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development awarded $19.5 million to 89 homeless housing and service program across the state of Pennsylvania Monday – 17 of which will benefit Philadelphia-based centers.
The announcement comes on the heels of a lengthy and emotion-filled hearing on youth homelessness in City Council last week that drew testimony from individuals who related stories of abuse and survival on the streets at a young age.
The HUD money, known as “Continuum of Care” (CoC) grants, are part of the Obama administration’s efforts to end homelessness and build upon the $82.6 million in funding HUD awarded to the Keystone State in March.
“We know how to end homelessness, and these grants support local programs that are proven to prevent and end homelessness as we’ve come to know it,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a news release.
“This additional funding will support new efforts to provide permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness in Pennsylvania, while also helping to sustain existing local programs,” said Jane C.W. Vincent, HUD’s regional administrator of the mid-Atlantic region.
The city’s Family CoC Rapid Re-Housing Program was allocated the most, with a little more than $2.5 million.
Other programs that will benefit include the city’s Assisted Living Project, with $323,000; the Fattah Homes II, with $78,000; the ActionAIDS' Casa Nueva Vida housing facility with $183,000; and several others.
Sources say the awards doled out Monday and those in March were part of the goals established in 2010 by President Barack Obama and 19 federal agencies and offices that form the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).
On Thursday, several youth and youth advocates testified before a joint hearing of City Council's committees on Children and Youth and Housing Neighborhood Development and the Homeless.
Elizabeth Hersh, Director of the Office of Supportive Housing, said that at the Covenant House – which serves runaway, homeless and trafficked youth throughout the greater Philadelphia region – staffers had to turn away 546 young people in 2015.
"Ending youth homelessness is not out of reach of Philadelphia," she said.
"We welcome the opportunity to work with the provider community and City Council, among others, to make our vision of a city without youth homelessness a reality."