Federal dollars fight homelessness locally

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More than $1 million in federal funds to fight homelessness is headed to Clark County, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday.

The money represents grant renewals for ongoing projects that were considered particularly competitive and "highly prioritized by their communities," HUD's website says. It's part of 1.54 billion being distributed nationwide and $38.7 million in Washington State.

Here in Clark County, the grant winners are:

• Bridges to Housing, $34,491;

• Family Housing Northwest, $46,582;

• Homeless Management Information System, managed by the Council for the Homeless, $74,082;

• New Dreams, $192,954;

• Operation Homestretch, $84,816;

• Orchard Glen, $35,086;

• Shelter Plus Care, $143,899;

• Story Street, $232,734;

• The Way Home, $107,081; and

• Wise Moves, $87,967.

"Our economy is improving, but times are as tough as ever for those without a place to call home," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride. "These funds help hard-working local organizations keep their doors open and services flowing to help homeless families and individuals put a roof over their heads and stability and opportunity back into their lives."

HUD recently announced its 2012 "point in time" estimate of the number of homeless persons in America. Approximately 3,000 cities and counties reported 633,782 homeless persons on a single night in January 2012, largely unchanged from the year before. While HUD found significant declines among the long-term homeless and veterans, local communities reported an increase in the number of sheltered and unsheltered families with children. In Washington State, local communities reported a .003 percent increase in homelessness from January 2011 to January 2012.