More than $300,000 in federal grants to Jackson County were renewed this week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money will provide some relief for those who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness. But requests for additional funding continue unanswered as the sequestration drags on, officials say.
On Wednesday, HUD announced its renewed support for 118 homeless housing and service programs across Oregon. Of the total $22 million in "Continuum of Care" HUD grants awarded this year, $317,343 made its way to Southern Oregon.
The grants will provide continuing support for programs that help the homeless. The grant submission was a coordinated effort between Community Works, The Salvation Army, RVCOG and ACCESS, said Jackie Schad, executive director for ACCESS.
"The four groups worked together to make this happen for the community," Schad said. "It's a good example of collaboration."
The grants fund a wide variety of programs from street outreach and assessment to transitional and permanent housing for homeless individuals and families, she said.
The grants are awarded competitively to local programs across the state. Home at Last received $136,775, Medford Citadel HOPE House received $50,956, Community Works Transitional Living Program received $118,295 and Woodrow Pines, which provides permanent housing for those with mental health issues, were the four beneficiaries, Schad said.
Nationwide, approximately 3,000 cities and counties reported 633,782 homeless persons on a single night in January 2012. That figure is largely unchanged from 2011. 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, according to a HUD news release.
Schad said in a December Mail Tribune article that cuts to nonprofits could have potentially far-reaching effects. As the need for services continues to grow, money to support the need has not been as steady, she said.
"We asked for a couple new things which we may not get as a result of the sequestration," Schad said.
One of those new grant requests was intended to bring in money to help assist and manage Ashland's homeless population, she said.
Included in the grant was a money request that would help fund data collection efforts "in order to be more effective in addressing the needs of the homeless," Schad said.
"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," HUD Secretary Shaun Donavan said in the news release. "We know these programs work and we know these grants can mean the difference between homeless persons and families finding stable housing or living on our streets."
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email email@example.com.