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EC Department of Mental Health awarded funding for ongoing work addressing homelessness in WNY

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Wed, Feb 7th 2018 12:40 pm
Over $5.5 million in HUD funds earmarked to help homeless achieve permanent housing solutions
Ongoing efforts to combat homelessness in Erie County recently received a major boost in the form of an award to continue six different grants obtained through a federal program managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that will provide support to local programs serving individuals and families who are currently homeless.
The Erie County Department of Mental Health was awarded $5,519,666 in HUD funding to help address homelessness by continuing ongoing projects already being used to combat homelessness as well as embracing new programs and concepts that include joint transitional/permanent housing/rapid rehousing initiatives. The local funding will be used to assist homeless individuals and families throughout the county, including the City of Buffalo.
"We are very proud to once again receive the HUD continuum of care grants," Erie County Mental Health Department Commissioner Michael R. Ranney said. "This funding will be utilized in our dedicated efforts of addressing homelessness in our region and how mental health can play a role in why a specific individual or a family becomes homeless.
"Identifying and locating permanent housing solutions for the homeless of our community remains a top priority of our department."
The continued funding award will help to allow the county's mental health department to provide an estimated 538 beds for local residents seeking shelter. In addition, HUD funding awarded to other local organizations will allow for approximately 439 additional beds, meaning housing for the homeless will be made available to close to 1,000 individuals. Collaboration with the Homeless Alliance of Western New York and community providers across the continuum of care plays a major role in bringing these resources to our community.
It is estimated approximately 6,000 people in Erie County are currently defined as being homeless, with mental illness being described as one of the leading disabling conditions of those who do not have a permanent place to live. While the number of homeless people in the region continues to escalate, progress has been made in reducing the official tally in the total number of people who are defined as being chronically homeless (homeless individuals with a disabling condition who has either been continually homeless for one year or who have had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years that equals one year.)
Chronically homeless individuals are reported as someone who was living on the street or inside an emergency shelter. The number of chronically homeless has reduced from 36 individuals in 2016 to 24 individuals in 2017 to the current tally of less than 10 individuals in 2018.
For more information on the Erie County Department of Mental Health, visit http://www2.erie.gov/mentalhealth/. To read the full list of grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, visit https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/comm_planning/homeless/budget/2017.

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