Brendan Keany

WNY Awarded Huge Federal Grant to Combat Homelesseness

"950 people in the five Western New York counties face homelessness on any given day."

March 20, 2019 - 1:38 pm

BUFFALO (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - Congressman Brian Higgins was joined by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz this morning to announce federal funding to help curb homelessness in Western New York.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care program is receiving nearly $13.75 million dollars in funding that will be dispersed among more than a dozen organizations in the region.

Here's a breakdown of where the dollars will be going:

"HUD reports that on any given day 553,00 people, nationwide, experience homelessness," said Higgins. "As many as 950 people in the five Western New York counties face homelessness on any given day. These federal grants will be instrumental in expanding critical services in continuing to fight homelessness right here in Buffalo and Western New York."

The Homeless Alliance of WNY reports that 164,023 of those individuals on a national level include families with children, and 36,361 unaccompanied youth experienced homelessness every night.

Poloncarz echoed Higgins' sentiments, saying that this is a significant source of funding for the region.

"$13.7 million is a tremendous amount, and for Erie County, there will be $5.5 million that will be coming in," he said.

Poloncarz then described just how these funds are appropriated throughout Erie County.

"I want to commend our Department of Mental Health, led by commissioner Mike Ranney and some of the members of his staff that are here, because we are the conduit, so to speak, for these funds, but we are not the ones that are actually providing the services," said Poloncarz. "There are six grantees that actually will be recipients of the $5.5 million that are coming through the Erie County Department of Mental Health to address these issues of homelessness in our community."

Ranney says these federal funds aren't new, but that doesn't mean they aren't critical in order to provide services in the region.

"Erie County Department of Mental Health is honored to accept this award of $5.4 million," said Ranney. "Through the good work of the county, we have consistently been awarded these HUD dollars for several years. We continue to work diligently with our community partners to reduce chronic homelessness for individuals in our community with disabling conditions."

Hear full audio from the press conference below:

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