County Gets Federal Grant to Improve Services for the Homeless
October 13, 2003
In these tough economic times, one of Contra Costa's safety nets just got wider and stronger.
The county is one of only 11 local communities in the nation to be awarded a major federal grant to address the needs of its chronically homeless. The grant of nearly $3.5 million will help the county provide housing to chronically homeless persons, and to deliver more and better services to this highly vulnerable population. A partnership made up of the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services and Veteran Affairs announced the awards on October 1.
"Given the intense competition for limited public funds, getting the grant is quite an accomplishment. It acknowledges how compassionate, creative and effective the county is in serving the homeless, and shows confidence in our ability to expand those services as well as to meet stringent federal and fiscal standards that come with the grant," says Cynthia Belon, director of the county's Homeless Program.
Belon says the grant will allow the county to provide housing to 40 chronically homeless persons, increasing the county's capacity by 31 percent. It will also allow the county to enhance treatment of homeless persons with substance abuse problems, mental illness and other disabilities.
"We will be able to send additional health staff, such as nurses, to homeless encampment sites, where health needs are significant and urgent," says Belon. "The grant will also help us provide more services for those already in permanent housing, so they could live, work and fully participate in their community," she adds.
According to Belon, Contra Costa County is one of three recipients of the grant in California, with San Francisco receiving also around $3.5 million and Los Angeles getting a little over $2 million. There are currently an estimated 15,000 homeless individuals in Contra Costa County.
# # #