WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – More than half a million Americans are homeless.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced more than $118 million in Continuum of Care grants to support hundreds of local programs across the country that serve them.
“It’s become a crisis in our country,” said Hud Secretary Ben Carson. “There’s really no reason that a country as advanced as ours should have homelessness.”
The grants will fund emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, along with resources like job training, and mental health and substance abuse counseling.
“Getting people off the street, keeping them off the street and optimally, returning them to productivity,” Carson said.
California and Florida are two of the states that will receive the most money. Carson said the states have similar climates but different approaches.
“Florida does enforce more of the laws so they don’t necessarily encourage or allow people to sleep in a lot of public places,” Carson said. “And that tends to move people more toward the programs that are able to help them.”
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, both states have some of the most severe housing shortages in the country, contributing to the homeless crisis.
“Many people are being priced out of homes,” Carson said.
Carson said the grant funding alone can’t fix the problem so HUD is also working with states to loosen restrictive housing regulations.
“Each of these regulations drives up the cost and makes it that much more difficult for people to be able to have a decent place to live,” Carson said.
The department also announced more than $2 billion in Continuum of Care grants earlier this year.
To see how the funding impacts your community, visit the HUD website.