Federal grants to combat homelessness will send millions into the metro-east in the new year, including nearly $2 million to Madison County.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $1.89 million to Madison County Community Development earlier this week as part of HUD’s “Continuum of Care” program, intended to provide support and aid to the homeless.
The county’s homeless services manager, David Harrisonm, said the money will help fund housing and assistance services for people getting back on their feet.
“With added stress on emergency shelters, especially this time of year, the funds allow for more permanent housing options for our neighbors without housing,” Harrison said.
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More than 600,000 Americans are homeless, according to a news release from Madison County. Children represent nearly half the homeless population in Madison County.
“Some (people) are homeless due to mental health issues, others were devastated by the recession and have not recovered,” Harrison said in the news release. “There are all types of reasons.”
The annual grant has varied in amount each year, Harrison said, and last year three programs lost their funding. “This year we lost funding for one program but gained a new one,” Harrison said. “Despite that, we are still unable to help many of those who need it.”
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced that in total, there were 28 homeless housing and service grants provided for a total of $6.5 million statewide. Funds went almost entirely to Madison County and to the Chicago region, with others to Springfield, Libertyville, Gillespie, Joliet, Rockford and Moline, among others.
Durbin’s statement said that homelessness has fallen by 21 percent, 15 percent for families with children, and 33 percent for veterans, since the launch of the federal Interagency Council on Homelessness in 2010.
However, Durbin said nearly 1,000 veterans are homeless in Illinois. “In a country with as many resources as ours, those numbers are far, far too high,” he said. “I applaud the many organizations in Illinois that are dedicated to ending homelessness and will continue working in D.C. to achieve that goal.”
Madison County Community Development funds 144 permanent supportive housing beds and 28 units of re-housing, with funds going to Chestnut Family Connections, Madison Recovery, Mainstay Center and Families in Safe Recovery; Good Samaritan House Rapid Re-Housing; Madison County Housing First and Continuum of Care Planning; and Centerstone Theodoro Place.