HUD: Nearly $20 Million Awarded to Support Homeless Programs in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

Continuum of Care grants to support local projects working to prevent and end homelessness

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded nearly $20 million to support to dozens of local homeless housing and service programs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Continuum of Care grants announced today provide critically needed housing and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness across the territories, including those impacted by Hurricanes Maria and Irma (see attached list of local projects receiving funding).

HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Neal Rackleff announced the homeless assistance funding during a visit to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to meet with local leaders on the region’s ongoing disaster recovery efforts. In addition to the homeless assistance announced today, HUD earlier awarded Puerto Rico nearly $20 billion to support long-term disaster recovery following last year’s hurricanes.

“As we work to support long-term disaster recovery in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, we will not forget those individuals and families experiencing homelessness,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Rackleff. “Secretary Carson and this Administration stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners to support real housing solutions for those who may otherwise be living in our shelters or on our streets.”

Due to last year’s devastating hurricanes, HUD extended the application deadline for communities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to apply for Continuum of Care funding. HUD is continuing to work with state and local partners to support higher performing local programs that have proven most effective in meeting their local challenges, often shifting funds from existing projects to create new ones that will have a more substantial and lasting impact on reducing homelessness.

Homelessness declined approximately 20 percent in Puerto Rico since 2016. According to data reported to HUD from local communities in Puerto Rico, an estimated 3,525 persons, primarily individuals, experienced homelessness on a single night in January of 2017. Homelessness among families with children declined 62 percent in Puerto between 2016 and 2017, though these estimates occurred prior to Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Across the nation, local homelessness planning agencies called ‘Continuums of Care’ organize volunteers to help count the number of persons located in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and living unsheltered on the streets. These Continuums of Care will report these one-night ‘point-in-time counts’ later in the year which will form the basis of HUD’s 2018 national homeless estimate.

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