GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A record $1.95 billion in grants were awarded by the federal government Tuesday to nearly 7,600 homeless assistance programs across throughout the nation. In total, $3.24 million is being awarded to Upstate South Carolina.
On any given night hundreds of people are homeless in the upstate, according to United Housing Connections.
“We get hundreds of calls a month from folks looking for help,” said UHC CEO, Diane Cilento.” Cilento says though the homeless number is trending downward in the Upstate, they’re work is far from over. “We’re doing better serving certain populations but in some aspects it’s not getting better because of the affordable housing crisis.”
That’s why getting grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is crucial for housing and support services for the homeless. HUD’s Continuum of Care grants provide critically needed support to local programs on the front lines of serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
“It’s a vital resource especially at this time when demand certainly outruns the supply,” Cilento said.
“Today marks another critical investment in support of those working each and every day to house and serve our most vulnerable neighbors,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “We know how to end homelessness and will continue to encourage our local partners to use the latest evidence to achieve success. These grants support proven strategies to end homelessness once and for all.”
“Continuums of Care across the nation are acting with urgency and resolve, with a focus on using federal resources as effectively and efficiently as possible,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “The investments being made through these grants are absolutely critical to sustaining and building upon the progress communities are making toward ending homelessness.”
UHC is getting a significant portion of the funding heading to the Upstate.
“It serves at least 11 programs of just UHC’s and there are other providers throughout the upstate – talking about greenwood, anderson Spartanburg. It goes a long way,” said Cilento. “From domestic violence victims, to the youth to the disabled, mentally ill, people living with HIV-AIDS.”
She says HUD has strict guidelines for how the money is spent, and is cutting back on funding transitional housing.
“We find that supportive housing is the best option for those folks,” she said.
Cilento says they’ve been awarded more money than last year — which will fund constructing affordable housing units. In total, South Carolina is getting over $9 million. Complete list of all the state and local homeless projects awarded funding.