Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Federal Focus on Permanent Housing Leaves Some Americans Shelterless

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Federal Focus on Permanent Housing Leaves Some Americans Shelterless

Article excerpt

As the focus on fighting homelessness has shifted from providing temporary housing to permanent housing, grant money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development has followed. But temporary shelter leaders across the country say cuts to funding this year will force emergency shelters to drastically cut their services, which could force some residents back onto the streets.

The refocusing of funding follows a nationwide shift in how communities address homelessness, as legislators and advocates push for investment in longterm solutions rather than temporary measures such as emergency shelters and aggressive policing, as The Christian Science Monitor has previously reported.

There is some evidence that strategic shift is paying off, as homelessness across the nation has decreased by 11 percent since 2010. But diversion of funds from temporary to permanent housing has left people in emergency situations with limited immediate options.

In Baltimore, prioritization of permanent housing in grant applications netted the city $2 million for a new housing project, Bill McCarthy, executive director of Catholic Charities of Baltimore, told the Associated Press. But that strategy also resulted in transitional programs in the city losing $3.8 million, which will cost hundreds of beds to shelters like My Sister's Place Lodge, which houses women with disabilities, and Christopher's place, a shelter that helps men transition from prison to the workforce.

"You're talking about hundreds of beds that are lost without the support of HUD," Mr. McCarthy said. "The city had no plan in place with what they would do with the individuals that were living in these programs."

Another shelter to be affected is the Gregory House in Honolulu, Hawaii, which provides temporary housing for people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. Jon Berliner, executive director of Gregory House Programs, told the AP the impact of the cuts would be "unbelievably awful. …

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