Mass. gets $69.4m from HUD to aid homeless
Massachusetts on Tuesday was awarded $69.4 million in federal grants to help the state’s homeless population, including $24.2 million in funding for Boston shelters and programming.
The grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development were announced in a statement from the agency.
“This funding is critical to local Massachusetts programs that are on the front lines of helping those who might otherwise be living on our streets,” said Jim Reed, HUD’s New England regional administrator, in a statement. “The evidence is clear that every dollar we spend on those programs that help find a stable home for our homeless neighbors not only saves money but quite literally saves lives.”
According to HUD, the money will provide “critically needed housing and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness across the state.” The agency estimates that 19,608 people were homeless on any given night in Massachusetts in 2016.
The Boston organizations receiving grant money include the Pine Street Inn, Saint Francis House, Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership Inc., and Victory Programs Inc.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh welcomed the news in a statement.
“This funding will do so much good for our homeless programs here in Boston,” Walsh said. “Funding for our most vulnerable populations is critical, as we cannot leave any member of our community behind.”
Other grants include a combined $6.3 million in the city of Worcester and Worcester County; $4.1 million in Cambridge; and $5.5 million spread throughout Quincy, Brockton, Weymouth, Plymouth, and parts of Plymouth County.
“Today marks another critical investment in support of those working each and every day to house and serve our most vulnerable neighbors,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in the statement. “We know how to end homelessness and will continue to encourage our local partners to use the latest evidence to achieve success. These grants support proven strategies to end homelessness once and for all.”
Massachusetts has a mixed record on reducing homelessness in recent years, according to HUD.
The agency says Bay State communities have reported a 17.8 percent increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness since 2010. However, homelessness among veterans fell by 25 percent, and chronic homelessness declined by 36.6 percent, HUD statistics show.
At the same time, family homelessness increased by 28.6 percent, according to the statement.
“Next month, HUD and local planners will launch a more robust effort to more accurately account for the youth and young adult population,” the statement said.
“Across the nation, local homelessness planning agencies called ‘Continuums of Care’ will organize volunteers to help count the number of persons located in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, and living unsheltered on the streets. These Continuums of Care will report these one-night ‘point-in-time counts’ later in the year and will form the basis of HUD’s 2017 national homeless estimate.”
According to HUD data, nearly $2 billion in funding was awarded nationwide as part of the grant program.