Grant to House Homeless Individuals

A billion dollar grant is going to house homeless individuals and families. It will serve thousands locally.

There are approximately 172,000 homeless individuals and families across the nation. A $1.33 billion federal grant will aid local programs that house and serve homeless people from emergency shelters and transitional housing projects to permanent supportive housing programs, places like the Big Bend's Homeless Coalition's HOPE Community in Tallahassee.

Elizabeth Escobar, a former HOPE resident, comments, "I'm moving out. I'll be a full-time student in January with a full-time job. I moved into my apartment today. Things are going fabulously. I'm really happy."

Many others can have a success story. Homeless programs in Georgia will get almost $26 million of that federal grant. Florida is getting around $65 million.

Stephanie Shepherd, the community services coordinator with the Big Bend Homeless Coalition, says, "On any given day in Tallahassee there are 700 people experiencing homelessness; half of those are children."

Tallahassee-Leon County will receive almost $979,000 of Florida's portion of the money, split among Ability First and the Coalition for the Homeless.

Shepherd adds, "This almost one million dollars will help place 40 individuals who are chronically homeless and will help end homelessness for them. It makes a huge impact."

While homeless advocates say the grant will help tremendously, the Big Bend Homeless Coalition says they are looking to receive another $49,000 to complete its women's dorm.

The $1.33 billion grant is provided by HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.