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Feds give county $20M for reduce homelessness

SAN DIEGO — Four dozen programs run by nonprofits and government agencies in San Diego County were awarded more than $20 million in U.S. Housing and Urban Development grants intended to reduce homelessness, it was announced this week.

HUD’s Continuum of Care grants totaled $2.01 billion for the 2017-18 fiscal year, dispersed to localities throughout the country, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The aggregate sum awarded to entities within California was $382,566,777 — the largest amount of any state. In San Diego County, 48 separate grants were awarded, totaling $20.03 million. The largest — $3.43 million — went to the San Diego Housing Commission, which oversees a bevy of housing assistance programs, including those aimed at the homeless population.

“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.”

Continuum of Care disbursals are meant to reinforce efforts by public agencies and nonprofits to help move people off the streets, or out of other marginal living conditions, and into transitional or permanent housing, according to the agency.

“Continuums are critical leaders in the work to end homelessness nationwide,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “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.”

According to HUD, its annual homeless assessment indicated temporary and long-term homelessness among individuals edged up nearly 1 percent in 2017. However, homelessness among families dropped 5.4 percent.