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Higgins: Nearly $12.3 million in federal grants to fight homelessness in Western New York

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Thu, Jan 23rd 2020 02:25 pm

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, announced the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care (CoC) program has awarded almost $12.3 million in federal funding to Western New York organizations to assist in their mission to end homelessness in the region.

“Federal grants competitively awarded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development like these are crucial to continuing the fight against homelessness in Western New York,” Higgins said. “We are fortunate to have, in the Homeless Alliance of WNY, a coordinated effort led by able local agencies and government partners committed to not only home placement, but a real focus on addressing the challenges that leave people without a home.”

Created in 1992 as the Erie County Commission on Homelessness, the Homeless Alliance of WNY (HAWNY) manages grant programs for many Western New York organizations that provide homelessness assistance. HAWNY separated from the government and adopted its current name in 2005. It’s since merged with other nearby CoC programs and is presently the CoC lead for Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties.

HAWNY Executive Director Dale Zuchlewski said, “I would like to thank Congressman Higgins, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and HUD for allocating the funding to make this $12.2 million tier 1 project allocations possible. We were awarded one bonus project for Haven House for $395,516 and are waiting for the results of the tier 2 award where we hope to secure another $800,000 for WNY.”

Sara Grady, director of domestic violence prevention and intervention services for Child & Family Services’ Haven House, said, “We are pleased Haven House was awarded HUD domestic violence bonus grant funding to support the proposed joint transitional housing and rapid rehousing project. Haven House operates Erie County’s only licensed, fully inclusive shelter for domestic violence survivors and their families. There is a great need for increased resources in Erie County to assist domestic violence victims in achieving safe and permanent housing for themselves and their children after fleeing abusive relationships. Our hope is that the new program will help to fill this gap and add to Haven House’s diverse portfolio of services used to assist survivors of domestic violence seeking safety and freedom.”

Community Missions President and CEO Robyn Krueger added, “Community Missions is pleased to thank Congressman Higgins and Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand along with our HUD partners and HAWNY for their work and appropriation of funding. Community Missions' rapid rehousing program has truly transformed the lives of Niagara Falls and Niagara County residents in finding stable and long-term housing. We are humbled and proud to be a part of this transformation for the residents and families of our city and county communities.”

In addition to the CoC grant funding awarded by HUD, the department has yet to award several emergency solutions grants (ESG) to WNY municipalities. ESG program funds go to providing emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families and the operation of those shelters, as well as essential services for shelter residents and homelessness prevention programs.

More than a dozen different WNY organizations and municipalities will receive funding:

According to the Homeless Alliance of WNY “Point in Time” report, 924 people in the five WNY counties faced homelessness in 2019. HUD’s 2019 Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found an estimated 568,000 people in the U.S., including 171,670 individuals in families with children and 35,038 unaccompanied youth, experienced homelessness on any given night in America.

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