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Programs combating homelessness awarded $7.3 million

Programs working to reduce homelessness in Greene, Warren, Miami and Montgomery counties have been awarded a combined $7.3 million in grant renewals by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The just more than $7 million awarded to 18 Montgomery County programs was $389,013 more than those same projects received a year ago. The larger awards are mainly from increases in the Fair Market Rent and an increase in administrative funds, Joyce Probst-MacAlpine, Montgomery County’s manger of housing and homeless solutions, said.

The HUD Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively to local projects to meet the needs of their homeless clients. The grants fund a wide variety of programs for veterans, the mentally ill, families, single men, women and children.

The Greene County Tenant Rental Assistance Program received $153,064; Warren County got $70,940 for permanent, supportive housing and Miami County received $37,580 for a Shelter Plus Care program. These programs provide housing and supportive services on a long-term basis for homeless persons with disabilities who may be living on the streets or in emergency shelters.

“These grants are vital to keeping homeless programs going so they can provide a lifeline to those experiencing long term homelessness as well as families confronting a sudden economic crisis,” Antonio R. Riley, HUD’s Midwest Regional Administrator said.

In Montgomery County programs range from HomeStar Safe Haven, which offers housing at locations in Dayton and Harrison Twp. for the mentally ill who refuse to enter a traditional shelter to the St. Vincent de Paul Permanent Supportive Housing Program, which serves up to 14 families.

The largest single grant of $731,101 went to the Housing First I-III programs. The programs consist of permanent supportive housing in Miamisburg, West Carrollton and Harrision Twp. that are owned by Miami Valley Housing Opportunities and operated by Places Inc.

Probst-MacAlpine said the county’s goal — set in 2006 — of creating 750 units of permanent supportive housing is at 540 units open or under development, or 72 percent of the goal.

HUD recently announced its 2012 “point in time” estimate of the number of homeless persons in America. Approximately 3,000 cities and counties reported 633,782 homeless persons on a single night in January of 2012, largely unchanged from the year before.

While HUD found significant declines among the long-term homeless and veterans, local communities reported an increase in the number of sheltered and unsheltered families with children. In Ohio, local communities reported a 7.3 percent overall rise in homelessness in 2012.

Probst-MacAlpine said Montgomery County identified 44 families in January 2012 compared to 64 in January 2013.The number of homeless single men has remained around 400 for the last four years.

Later this year, the county expects a second round of awards from HUD. At that time new projects will be funded.

“We applied for three new projects with total funding of $1,079,583,” Probst-MacAlpine said. “We are pretty confident we will be awarded one of these projects which applied for $574,996. The other two projects are less certain.”

Probst-MacAlpine said Montgomery County is hoping to win funding for more housing scattered around the county that offer high levels of mental health services.

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