Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

HUD Seeks National Input for Federal Homeless Plan Goals Are Coordinated Planning, More Local Control

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

HUD Seeks National Input for Federal Homeless Plan Goals Are Coordinated Planning, More Local Control

Article excerpt

A MORE coordinated community-development strategy will help cities grow economically and will better address the needs of the nation's homeless, said United States Assistant for Community Planning and Development Andrew Cuomo at a Boston forum Wednesday.

Speaking before New England state and local officials, homeless advocates, representatives of nonprofit agencies, and economic developers, Mr. Cuomo said this year's federal homeless budget may be doubled over last year's allocation. In addition, he said, communities will receive better service and less bureaucracy from the government's housing and homeless programs.

"What today is about is not just resources," Cuomo said. ".... We're also going to be smarter in how we use those resources."

The forum, sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is 1 of 20 meetings being held in many cities. The purpose is to allow communities to discuss housing and homeless programs and provide suggestions for a federal homelessness plan. HUD must submit the plan, as mandated last May through executive order by President Clinton, by Feb. 19.

At the Boston forum, Cuomo spoke of the need to develop more comprehensive homeless programs. HUD officials want to increase the federal homeless budget from last year's $800,000 million to $1.6 billion, he said.

Since communities have different needs when it comes to helping their homeless, more decisionmaking authority will be given to local HUD agencies. "You can't do this from Washington," Cuomo said. "There is no cookie-cutter {answer that says}: `This is what a homeless program should look like.' The homeless problem is different throughout the country. While in some areas the problem is largely domestic violence, in others it may be high unemployment or a lack of affordable housing," he said.

Cuomo also said HUD programs must be more coordinated. …

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