PROVIDENCE, RI - In an effort to help Rhode Islanders meet their housing needs, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today announced that three local Rhode Island homeless programs will receive $1.31 million in new federal Continuum of Care funding.  This new funding will help provide safe, affordable housing and supportive services for homeless Rhode Islanders.

Rhode Island Housing will work with the following organizations on housing initiatives:

Omni Development - ($639,684) Turning Point II, located on Convent Street in Providence will consist of 13 efficiency units of permanent supportive housing.  This location will offer permanent housing and supportive services to chronically homeless and disabled veterans so that they may live independently within an established community.  The project may also serve chronically homeless and disabled persons who are not veterans.

Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation - ($637,951) Tremont Place will provide four 2-bedroom and one 3-bedroom units of permanent supportive housing for homeless and disabled youths aging out of foster care.  Support services will be provided by the Rhode Island Foster Parents Association (RIFPA), a group with extensive experience serving the target population. For the past four years an average of 209 youths in the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) care were at risk of losing stable housing due to their age, and in 2010, 108 youth aged out of foster care in RI on their 18th birthday.  Tremont Place will be the first facility in Rhode Island's Continuum of Care dedicated to serving this population.

Crossroads Rhode Island - ($37,474) This award will allow an existing permanent supportive housing facility, the Harold Lewis House in West Warwick, to construct five additional single room occupancy units, bringing the total number of units in the facility to 14.  The Harold Lewis House provides housing and services for homeless and disabled adults over 50 years of age.  The additional 5 units will focus on providing supportive housing for homeless veterans.

“This federal funding will help provide supportive housing for homeless veterans and young people who need assistance.  Rhode Islanders are struggling to make ends meet and we must remain committed to housing assistance that helps stabilize neighborhoods and creates healthy communities,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who also helped secure $4.6 million in Continuum of Care funds for Rhode Island homeless programs in December of 2011.

“This new timely assistance to our state will provide funding for safe and healthy homes and critical services for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable populations,” said Richard Godfrey, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “Continuum of Care grants are a key and vital ingredient in helping individuals and families who are homeless receive key permanent supportive housing to stabilize their lives.”

These new grants will be administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Supportive Housing program, which offers housing and supportive services to individuals in need to assist with the transition from homelessness to independent living.

Reed is the author of the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, which President Obama signed into law in May of 2009.  In addition to boosting targeted homelessness assistance and prevention grant programs going forward, Reed’s legislation mandated that the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness produce a “national strategic plan” to end homelessness, which became the White House’s new strategy called “Opening Doors.”

According to a HUD report released in 2011, Rhode Island saw a nearly 20 percent drop in homelessness in January 2011 compared with January 2010, with an estimated 1,070 Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness on a given night in January 2011, down from 1,282 in 2010.  The number of families experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island also declined significantly, from 216 in 2010 down to 137 in 2011.

Nationwide, the report showed homelessness dropped 2.1 percent, according to data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties throughout the United States.  The annual “point-in-time” survey estimated that on a single night in January 2011, 636,017 Americans were homeless.

HUD found that, in addition to the reduction in overall homelessness, veteran homelessness decreased by almost 12 percent, family homelessness decreased by 2.8 percent, and chronic homelessness decreased by 2.4 percent, all compared to January 2010.