Help is on the way for homeless people living in Georgia’s 4th Congressional district. The area was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address health and housing needs of the community.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) announced that his district secured a set of “Continuum of Care” grants to the tune $2.2 million. The funding will provide permanent and transitional housing, as well as target mental health, substance abuse, child care, job training, and general health services. The idea is to not only address the obvious housing needs, but delve deeper into some of the other causes of homelessness.
According to a written statement, Johnson says the Atlanta-area agencies and organizations that would receive funding include Action Ministries, Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Initiative for Affordable Housing, Jerusalem House, Our House Inc., Progressive Redevelopment, Rainbow Village Inc., Salvation Army, and Zion Keepers.
“The recession has taken a huge toll,” said Rep. Johnson.
“As our economy recovers, we must ensure everyone – no matter their circumstances – benefits from our efforts. These programs help people reach their personal goals and establish independence,” he added.
Rep. Johnson’s district covers a large swath of the eastern metro Atlanta area. The district is home to a large population of the region’s African-American community, many of whom were hit hard by the recession’s fallout.
The efforts in Atlanta mirror a larger federal effort by the Obama Administration to address the issue of homelessness. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded a total of $1.41 billion in grants for the “Continuum of Care” program as of this month. The money will keep over 7,000 homeless assistance programs in operation across the country.
“There is a tremendous need on our streets and in our shelters among those experiencing both long-term homelessness as well as families confronting a sudden economic crisis,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
“These grants are the life blood for thousands of local housing and service programs that are doing the heavy lifting to meet President Obama’s goal of ending homelessness,” Mr. Donovan added.
In addition to the funding, HUD will also conduct its annual ‘Let’s Make Everyone Count’ census of homeless persons and families this week in several cities in the U.S. The idea is to give local officials a sense of where the numbers lie on the issue of homelessness. It will also allow them to set and meet goals to properly handle the problem.