Freestore Foodbank programs aimed at helping homeless people get permanent housing were among those that were funded Tuesday by money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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HUD awards $12.4 million to fight homelessness in Cincinnati, Hamilton County

Money goes to existing local programs, shelters

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CINCINNATI - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Tuesday awarded more than $12.4 million to address the problem of homelessness in Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

The funding is provided through HUD's Continuum of Care programs, and it will help a variety of shelters and initiatives continue their work this year.

"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 Donovan said in a 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."

The money does not fund any new programs locally. Funding for new projects will be announced later this year.

Rather, this funding will support existing programs, said Laura Feldman, a HUD spokeswoman based in Chicago.

The Drop Inn Center in Over-the-Rhine, the region's largest emergency homeless shelter, had several programs funded through the awards, as did the Freestore Foodbank.

"For our shelter, it's huge," said Drop Inn Center Executive Director Arlene Nolan, noting that some of the federal money will help pay for case management services. "It's absolutely vital that we have case managers working with our residents to help them get housing."

Cincinnati and Hamilton County programs got so much funding because they are exceeding HUD's expectations, said Kevin Finn, executive director of Cincinnati-based Strategies to End Homelessness, formerly known as the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Continuum of Care for the Homeless.

For examples, local programs are asked to have at least 77 percent of their clients in housing for more than six months, and those programs had 87 percent, Finn said.

The HUD grants are awarded competitively and fund a variety of efforts, ranging from street outreach to transitional and permanent housing. It was announced Tuesday that the state of Ohio as a whole received nearly $77 million in funding.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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