When the stimulus package passed in 2009, the federal government sent out funds that worked to prevent homelessness. Local organization Strategies to End Homelessness used some of this funding to help thousands of at-risk people and those who are already homeless. But that funding will soon come to an end because the stimulus package was only meant to be a temporary jolt to deal with the Great Recession.
Strategies to End Homelessness used the stimulus funding to partner with United Way and seven other local agencies to coordinate homeless aid. The organization is continuing its partnership with United Way and five of the agencies, but it will have to draw down some of its services.
“When the stimulus funding was in place, we were able to work with 250 households at a time to try to prevent them from becoming homeless,” says Executive Director Kevin Finn. “Now, with the level of funding that is available, it’s more like 50 or 60 households at a time.”
What this means is programs, such as the Homeless Prevention / Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP), will continue to service people who are at risk of becoming homeless but will have a stricter limit on who they can help.
One bright spot for Finn is that the organization is not losing all of its funding. Due to such programs’ successes, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has decided to make some of the funding permanent. This will let the organization continue focusing on some preventive measures instead of just focusing on what Finn calls the “meat and potatoes” of anti-homelessness efforts — or services for people that are already homeless — that have always existed.