2/15/2019 — 

PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed visited Crossroads Rhode Island to meet with leading advocates from around the state who are working together to help end homelessness and celebrate a new round of federal funding to help prevent homelessness and coordinate housing and stabilization services for homeless families and individuals across Rhode Island.

Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD), announced $1,109,903 in new federal Continuum of Care (CoC) grants for Rhode Island homeless assistance programs that will go to Crossroads, Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless (RICH), RIHousing, and Sojourner House. 

This federal funding, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will support five new homeless assistance projects around the state, as well as strategic planning resources that enable local providers and community partners to plan for and deliver safe, affordable housing and supportive services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island.

Reed, along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Chairman of the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee, helped make the funds available by including more than $2.5 billion in targeted homeless assistance for fiscal year 2018, an increase of $263 million from the proposed fiscal year 2018 Trump budget and $130 million above fiscal year 2017.

During today’s event at Crossroads, Senator Reed stated: “We must never stop working to fight homelessness across the state and nation, and these funds are a great step toward helping to save lives while also saving taxpayer dollars.  For individuals or families that are facing eviction and at risk of becoming homeless, these grants can help stabilize lives.”

“The grants we receive through programs like HUD’s Continuum of Care for rental assistance and permanent supportive housing are critical in our work to move from a shelter-based system to a solution-based system that focuses on housing, ensuring that those who need help the most are moved into their own safe homes,” noted Karen Santilli, President and CEO of Crossroads Rhode Island.  “Senator Reed understands that housing and supportive services for the most vulnerable families and individuals are crucial and that those who are housed will have a healthier and better quality of life.”

“This investment speaks to the success of our efforts in Rhode Island. These awards are part of a very competitive national grant process and an increase of this size demonstrates that we Rhode Island is on the right track to ending homelessness,” said Kristina Contreras Fox, policy analyst at Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.

“Sojourner House is completely thrilled and honored to receive this award, which allows us to expand our programs for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking by providing them with safe, secure housing and supportive services.  We know that emergency shelters are important for victims, but long-term housing is the key to help individuals and families rebuild their lives free from abuse,” said Vanessa Volz, Executive Director of Sojourner House.

The federal CoC grants are coordinated at the state level by Rhode Island Housing, and jointly administered by non-profits throughout the state.  CoC funds offer a variety of housing and services including transitional and permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, street outreach, client assessment, and other services. 

Senator Reed has been a strong supporter of housing assistance and homelessness prevention initiatives and has led efforts in the Senate to increase funding to address the root causes of homelessness.  Reed is the author of the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, which President Obama signed into law in May 2009.  The legislation streamlined and boosted homeless assistance and prevention grant programs and required the development of a “national strategic plan” to end homelessness.  This plan, Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, was produced and led by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and serves as the national roadmap to end veteran and chronic homelessness, as well as to end homelessness among children, family, and youth.

The funding comes after Reed helped deliver over $6 million for RI homelessness programs last month in federal CoC grants.  Combined, this has resulted in more than $7.16 million in homeless assistance grants for the state, an increase of nearly $1.7 million from fiscal year 2017.

State and local homeless projects receiving the competitive federal grants include:

  • Community Care Alliance / Rapid Re-Housing of Northern Rhode Island (Youth Expansion) 2018: $24,583
  • Crossroads Rhode Island / Crossroads-Beach Ave Apartments Expansion-FY2018: $36,439
  • Crossroads Rhode Island / Crossroads-DV CES-FY2018: $115,000
  • Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless / Coordinated Entry 2018: $141,714
  • Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation / RI-500 CoC Planning Application FY2018: $251,199
  • Sojourner House / Sojourner House Rapid Re-Housing Project for Victims of Abuse FY18: $540,968

Total: $1,109,903