Feds Award County $17 Million in Homeless Support Money

Orange County is set to receive another $17.6 million in annual federal funds to help homeless people, according to the Orange County Register.

Most of the money – about $10 million of it – is slated to go towards permanent housing, in light of a national shift towards providing stable housing for homeless people with support services.

The new funding amount is about the same as last year's $17.6 million allocation.

From the Register:

Local nonprofits and governments apply collaboratively for HUD’s homeless grants, meeting together to determine the region’s needs and then submitting a unified proposal to request funding. HUD representatives said its Homeless Assistance Award is the federal government’s largest competitive grant program.

“The reason that HUD is making that shift to a permanent housing strategy is because research supports that,” said Larry Haynes, executive director of the Santa Ana nonprofit Mercy House Living Centers. “Without these public dollars, hundreds, if not thousands of people would not be served.”

Haynes said that even with the federal assistance, Orange County’s low housing stock and limited apartment vacancies can make it difficult to find homes for the homeless. He said there is still a need to construct more permanent housing for the homeless, but Tuesday’s federal grant doesn’t provide money for that purpose.

Nick Gerda covers county government for Voice of OC. He can be reached at ngerda@voiceofoc.org.