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WNY homeless projects get almost $10 million from HUD

Nearly $10 million in federal grant money will be invested in programs to end homelessness in Erie and Niagara counties thanks to a coordinated effort by the Homeless Alliance of Western New York.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced this week that 37 projects in Western New York will receive a total of $9.76 million toward housing and support services for the newly homeless, people in recovery and people coping with mental illness, among others, from the Continuum of Care program.

Programs that were funded include permanent supportive housing, transitional housing and support services. Two new “rapid rehousing” programs are designed to reduce the trauma of homelessness by quickly stabilizing and rehousing people who are experiencing a housing crisis.

Dale Zuchlewski, executive director of the Homeless Alliance, said the HUD money will go to help those most in need.

The Homeless Alliance partners with the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, Town of Tonawanda as well as Erie and Niagara counties to develop cost-effective programs to house the homeless. HUD regulations have changed to focus on those most in need, giving top priority to the long-term homeless and homeless families.

Thanks to the influx of money, Zuchlewski said in a press release, approximately 200 new units will be available for those who have been homeless the longest.

Among the recipients of the money are three Cazenovia Homeless programs for rapid rehousing, those with mental illness and those in recovery, $742,000; three Matt Urban Housing programs, for a total of about $1.28 million; more than $5 million for the Erie County Department of Mental Health; Lakeshore New Connections Safe Haven, $436,235; other programs, including Haven House, the YWCA of Buffalo, Hispanos Unidos and Catholic Charities that received grants between $26,000 and $200,000.

This year’s HUD award was about $400,000 more than last year’s to reflect a HUD recalculation of Fair Market Rent. The Alliance reallocated the funds received to add the new rapid rehousing projects, Zuchlewski said.