News & Event
PROVIDENCE – Sen. Jack F. Reed announced $5.8 million for Rhode Island homeless assistance programs on Wednesday.
The funds come from Continuum of Care grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and will be used to support 38 homeless assistance projects around the state.
“This federal funding will help fund rapid rehousing and permanent housing for homeless persons and families in need. Helping people who are experiencing homelessness, or on the brink of homelessness, get access to shelter, care and supportive services can save lives and save taxpayer dollars. Whether it’s helping a homeless veteran who is struggling with PTSD or a family that is facing an eviction and at risk of becoming homeless, these grants help stabilize vulnerable individuals and families. We are committed to preventing and ending homelessness throughout the state, and these federal funds are vital to keeping that commitment,” said Reed in a statement.
The grants will be coordinated by Rhode Island Housing and jointly administered by nonprofits throughout the state. The funds will be used to offer a variety of housing and services as well as to support new projects.
State and local homeless projects receiving the competitive federal grants include:
Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.
Courtesy of Providence Business News
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded a record $2 billion to support more than 7,300 local homeless assistance programs across the nation. HUD's Continuum of Care grants provide critically needed support to local programs on the front lines of serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness. View a complete list of all the state and local homeless projects awarded funding.
Due to the last year's devastating hurricanes, HUD extended the application deadline for communities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands until February 16, 2018.
HUD continues to challenge state and local planning organizations called "Continuums of Care" to support their highest performing local programs that have proven most effective in meeting the needs of persons experiencing homelessness in their communities. Many of these state and local planners also embraced HUD's call to shift funds from existing underperforming projects to create new ones that are based on best practices that will further their efforts to prevent and end homelessness.
"HUD stands with our local partners who are working each and every day to house and serve our most vulnerable neighbors," said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. "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."
Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness added, "Continuums of Care are critical leaders in the work to end homelessness nationwide. When communities marshal these--and other local, state, private, and philanthropic resources--behind the strongest housing-first practices, we see important progress in our collective goal to end homelessness in America."
HUD Continuum of Care grant funding supports a broad array of interventions designed to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness, particularly those living in places not meant for habitation, located in sheltering programs, or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Each year, HUD serves more than a million people through emergency shelter, transitional, and permanent housing programs.
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, local communities report the number of persons experiencing long-term chronic homelessness and Veterans increased. HUD's 2017 homeless estimate points to a significant increase in the number of reported persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness, particularly in California and other high-cost rental markets experiencing a significant shortage of affordable housing.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at www.hud.gov and https://espanol.hud.gov.
You can also connect with HUD on social media and follow Secretary Carson on Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD's Email List.
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness coordinates and catalyzes the federal response to homelessness, working in close partnership with senior leaders across 19 federal agencies. By organizing and supporting state such as governors, mayors, and local planners. USICH drives action to achieve the goals of the federal strategic plan to prevent and homelessness, in order to ensure that homelessness in America is ended once and for all.
Courtesy of HUD
PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to provide essential housing and support for homeless veterans, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that the Providence, North Providence, Pawtucket, Tiverton, Bristol, and West Warwick Housing Authorities will receive a total of $152,775 in federal funding to assist homeless veterans through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. While the Providence and North Providence Housing Authorities have previously received HUD-VASH vouchers, the Pawtucket, Tiverton, Bristol and West Warwick Housing Authorities are all new recipients of the funding.
HUD-VASH is a collaborative program that combines HUD rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and supportive services through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans accepted in the HUD-VASH program receive assistance in vouchers to rent privately-owned housing. The housing vouchers allow veterans and their families to live in market-rate rental units while the VA simultaneously provides them with case management and other services -- including health care, mental health treatment, employment assistance and substance-use counseling -- that help them stay housed.
In addition to the more than 230 veterans currently served in Rhode Island through the HUD-VASH program, the Providence and North Providence Housing Authorities will each be able to house two additional veterans experiencing homelessness, with vouchers totaling $14,395 and $14,797, respectively. The other housing authorities will receive a combined twenty vouchers, with Pawtucket Housing Authority receiving a total of $31,031; Tiverton Housing Authority receiving a total of $30,105; the Town of Bristol Housing Authority receiving a total of $29,441; and West Warwick Housing Authority receiving a total of $33,006.
“We will not leave any veteran behind and must make every effort to ensure all our veterans have access to safe, suitable housing. HUD-VASH helps keep that commitment by providing affordable housing and supportive services to veterans in need. This is an important tool to help end chronic veteran homelessness, and I am pleased the state is receiving this latest down payment to help more veterans,” said Senator Reed. “These veterans have experienced real hardships, and HUD-VASH provides a real life-line for them, from finding them a place to call home to providing hands-on counseling and case management to help them get back on their feet.”
A member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Ranking Member of the panel’s subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), which oversees HUD-VASH funding, Senator Reed secured $40 million to support 5,100 new HUD-VASH vouchers in the fiscal year 2018 Omnibus spending bill, rejecting President Trump’s proposal to eliminate new resources for the program.
This latest round of HUD-VASH funding comes in addition to $5,796,184 in federal Continuum of Care (CoC) grants for Rhode Island homeless assistance programs that Senator Reed announced earlier this year.
Senator Reed has been a strong supporter of housing assistance and homelessness prevention initiatives throughout his years in office. In addition to his work on HUD-VASH, he also authored the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama. The HEARTH Act reauthorized the landmark McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and simplified and consolidated three competitive HUD homelessness assistance programs into one program and allowed more funding to flow to communities that can demonstrate a commitment to accomplishing the goals of preventing and ending homelessness.
Veterans who are homeless, or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, can call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline at: 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838). The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs founded the hotline to ensure that veterans in need have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors. The hotline is intended to assist homeless veterans and their families, VA Medical Centers, federal, state and local partners, community agencies, service providers, and others in the community.
Since 2008, more than $500 million has been allocated through the HUD-VASH program to serve more than 100,000 homeless veterans nationwide, with more than 10,000 additional veterans served as they become self-sufficient and successfully exit the program.
PROVIDENCE – Three NeighborWorks America organizations in Rhode Island will receive a combined $656,000 in federal funding, Sen. Jack F. Reed, D-R.I., announced Tuesday evening.
NeighborWorks is a congressionally chartered nonprofit focused on providing and building affordable housing. Last year, the program assisted 2,035 families in Rhode Island in getting affordable housing and counseling.
The funding comes from the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill passed in March. Reed said the bill secured $140 million for the nonprofit nationwide.
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley will receive $258,000 from the bill. The organization works in northern Rhode Island and will use the funds primarily for its Greenridge project in Burrillville, which, when completed, will provide 96 affordable apartments for low-income families.
ONE Neighborhood Builders will receive $210,000. ONB builds affordable housing in the Olneyville and Elmwood neighborhoods in Providence.
West Elmwood Housing Development Corp. will receive $188,000. WEHDC provides housing services in the West End neighborhood of Providence and helps individuals and families meet their affordable-housing needs.
NeighborWorks, and more specifically these vital organizations, work incredibly hard to ensure that Rhode Islanders have access to affordable housing,” said Reed in a statement.
Courtesy of Providence Business News
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge Elorza today announced funding opportunities for residents looking for both down payment assistance for home purchases and loans for home repairs.
“The City of Providence is making significant investments in its homeowners and homebuyers,” said Elorza. “We are building stronger communities by offering these loans and assistance programs and would like for eligible residents to take advantage of them.”
Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have become integral tools in the redevelopment of communities in Providence and have emerged as a supplemental tool to the EveryHome program, aimed at eliminating abandoned properties in Providence.
“For many, the American Dream has been home ownership,” said Acting City Council President Sabina Matos. A significant barrier to home ownership is often having enough money for the down payment or being able to cover closing costs. With this funding from the CDBG and HUD, qualified residents will be able to gain access to funds that will help them achieve their goal of home security.”
Each year, the city receives funding from the federal government to help revitalize local communities by providing safe housing, suitable living environments and expanded economic opportunities, principally for low and moderate-income residents. This funding allows the City to provide grants for Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance, administered by the Housing Network of Rhode Island, and Home Repair programs through the City’s Community Development Division.
“The Housing Network of Rhode Island is pleased to be partnering with the City of Providence again to offer this program,” said Melina Lodge, Executive Director of the Housing Network of Rhode Island. “Access to Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance is an important tool for putting homeownership opportunities within reach of low-income residents and we commend the mayor’s leadership in making this investment.”
Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance is a deferred-payment loan to cover down-payment or closing costs. Assistance is available to homebuyers that meet HUD income limits who purchase a 1-3 family home or condominium. Loans are affordability-restricted and properties must be the owners’ primary residences.The program is also restricted to those who can commit to staying in the property for at least five years.
The Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance program is scheduled to launch on January 15, 2018. Funding is extremely limited and will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis to eligible households. Applications are available online through the Housing Network of Rhode Island or in person by visiting the Housing Action Coalition of RI at 1070 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI.
The CDBG Home Repair Loan Program, made possible with the support of the Providence City Council, helps qualified homeowners perform a variety of home improvement projects, including emergency roof replacements, heating system replacements (in some cases, clients living without heat) and correction of code violations.
All funding assistance is in the form of a 0% interest, deferred payment loan for up to $25,000. Payment becomes due upon sale, change of primary residence, refinancing with cash out, debt consolidation or transfer of the property title.
Applications for the Home Repair Program are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis unless an emergency situation exists that warrants prioritization (ex. no heat, no running water). Applications are available online through the City’s Division of Community Development or in person by visiting the Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building at 444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI.
Could the simple service of a free, hot shower be a solution to the complex issue of homelessness?
It could be if the restoration of dignity is the start of a relationship that gets someone off the streets and into a supportive environment, says House of Hope Community Development Corp.
In launching a Shower to Empower mobile navigation unit April 17, House of Hope and Providence officials expressed optimism that the mobile trailer will provide a critical link to needed services.
The pickup-truck-hauled trailer is equipped not only with enclosed showers, but also a consultation room. The latter will allow people to meet privately with trained professionals, including those who work with people with mental illness and drug or alcohol problems.
A solution to homelessness is more complex than a 20-by-8-foot trailer. But sometimes a seemingly simple barrier such as hygiene is strong enough to prevent someone from seeking help, work or a meeting with a health professional, explained Laura Jaworski, executive director of the Warwick-based House of Hope.
“What I … see this as is one effort to complement our current street-based outreach program,” she said. “What we’ve learned from that experience is it takes a long time to build rapport and engage with individuals.”
Partially funded by the city, using $190,200 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the staff, and $65,000 from Team Williams LLC for the trailer, the mobile unit will initially be parked at 59 Central St. in Providence. Team Williams is a philanthropic effort founded by Bret Williams, a Narragansett-based entrepreneur.
At the mobile unit, showers and haircuts will be available daily. Most people take these things for granted, but they are a steppingstone in themselves, she said.
“If I’m not able to meet my basic hygiene needs … I’m not going to be able to go to a medical practitioner,” Jaworski said. “I’m not going to look presentable if I’m trying to have a job interview.”
According to Jaworski, the mobile unit is the first of its kind in New England.
HUD in December estimated the Providence homeless population at 1,180, a 2 percent increase year over year. The number doesn’t include the people living temporarily with relatives or friends.
The city in January 2017 selected House of Hope as the operator of its Providence Navigation Center, a proposed daytime program for individuals who are homeless. But after talks, the plans changed to the mobile shower unit, according to Victor Morente, a spokesman for Mayor Jorge O. Elorza.
The outreach component of the initiative is critically important, Morente said. “People are not necessarily aware of what resources are available.”
Homelessness in Rhode Island is on the rise. The state saw a 1.7 percent increase in homelessness this year according to a new report by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Statewide, 1,180 people experienced homelessness on a single day earlier this year. Nearly 400 were children in homeless families; almost 100 were veterans. Of even greater concern, Rhode Island’s chronically homeless population nearly doubled, increasing from 136 to 240.
After years of successfully reducing homelessness, Rhode Island’s homeless numbers are heading in the wrong direction. The solution to ending homelessness is actually pretty simple. Our “Housing First” model effectively gets people off the streets, out of shelter — and into permanent, affordable housing with the support services necessary to help them remain housed. Unfortunately, Rhode Island simply does not have enough housing that is affordable and meets people's needs.
Fortunately, social service agencies like Crossroads Rhode Island step in to bridge the gap. But hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal funding cuts, including the loss of Housing Stabilization dollars through Medicaid, Road Home and the Neighborhood Opportunities Program, are significantly reducing the amount of aid available for 2018 and beyond.
It’s the chronically homeless, the state’s most vulnerable population, who are likely to pay the price. Many of these individuals struggle with physical and mental illness, hunger and poverty — fighting every day just to survive. Without adequate funding for housing and support programs, they will end up back on the street, sleeping in doorways, camping under highway overpasses or staying in shelters.
Recently, 283 people slept in a Crossroads shelter, including 53 children in 27 families. Others sought refuge at different shelters — or bundled up in outdoor places where no one should have to spend a cold, winter night.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but helping those people find permanent housing solutions will ultimately cost taxpayers far less than keeping them in shelters. Research shows that the chronically homeless are much higher users of Medicaid, police, fire and rescue and other services.
A 2013 study of 67 chronically homeless Rhode Island Medicaid users revealed charges of $59,651 per person, more than double Medicaid charges for the average housed, disabled adult. In fact, over the course of 26 months, those 67 individuals cost the state $9.3 million in Medicaid costs alone.
Over the last three years, Crossroads helped more than 3,000 people move into permanent housing—and stay there. Several had been living in shelters for 10 years or more. Ten years. Let that sink in. Imagine how much it cost taxpayers to shelter those individuals for more than a decade, never mind what it would be like to live in a homeless shelter for that long.
The bottom line is that programs like “Housing First” save more taxpayer dollars than reducing funding. Working together, we can reduce the number of men, women and children experiencing homelessness, help save taxpayer dollars and find every Rhode Islander a safe place to call home this holiday season.
— Karen Santilli is president and CEO of Crossroads Rhode Island.
Courtesy of Providence Journal
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