County receives $4.7 million to fight homelessness

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Snohomish County and local partners in the fight against homelessness have been awarded about $4.7 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to keep critical local homeless assistance projects operating in 2011.

The county’s Human Services Department will distribute nearly $1.5 million to 15 projects operated by local nonprofits, including the YWCA, Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, Cocoon House, Housing Hope, Catholic Community Services and Volunteers of America. These dedicated funds will provide the resources to lease and operate affordable housing while also providing support services for Snohomish County families and individuals experiencing homelessness.

“Although current economic conditions are challenging, the collaborative efforts across the community demonstrate that we will not quit on each other,” County Executive Aaron Reardon said. “We must continue to work collectively to end homelessness and to prevent families from becoming homeless.”

The Housing Authority of Snohomish County, YWCA, Compass Health and Housing Hope will receive another $3.2 million directly from HUD to operate seven projects that also provide housing and support services for homeless families and individuals.

“This award comes at a significant time,” said Human Services Director Ken Stark. “Families, seniors, veterans and others needing housing and services will benefit from these programs receiving funding.”

The funding announcement comes on the heels of Snohomish County’s annual Point In Time homeless count. Volunteers recently gathered information on persons experiencing homelessness. Initial results show 2,249 persons in 1,335 households lacked a permanent place to stay, a slight decrease over the same count in 2010.

Funds are made available from HUD on a competitive basis to local area Continuums of Care. The County’s Human Services Department submits the annual funding request to HUD on behalf of the Continuum of Care – a collection of public, private and nonprofit service agencies working cooperatively to end homelessness in our community.

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