Central Florida Awarded More Than $7.5 Million in Federal Grants to Continue Housing First Initiatives for Homelessness

Orange County, Fla. – On January 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida (HSN successfully renewed $7.4 million in federal funding to continue to support the region’s Housing First and homeless youth initiatives. In addition, the agency will receive an increase of $100,000 to its rental assistance program, which helped 375 individuals who were experiencing homelessness have a place to call home last year. The increase comes in light of rising rental costs across the region.

HSN is the lead agency for the Central Florida Continuum of Care (CoC), which includes six local jurisdictions. The organization is responsible for the distribution of federal funds to local landlords, youth programs and organizations that assist homeless people within the participating jurisdictions of Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, in addition to the cities of Orlando, Sanford and Kissimmee.

Reducing homelessness using Housing First approaches has been crucial to the region’s efforts to make any experience of homelessness brief and one-time. This award will help Central Florida’s efforts to continue focusing on veterans, families, youth and disabled persons with extensive histories of homelessness. Here in Central Florida, individuals who are identified as homeless are captured within a system that helps the many providers working together locally to strategically prioritize resources while avoiding duplication and disruptions in the tracking progress and documentation of services rendered.

“The Central Florida Continuum of Care has been successful in its application for federal support in large part due to the investments of our local jurisdictions and business leaders,” said Martha Are, executive director for HSN.

“Orange County remains the largest local funder of homeless services in Central Florida. On behalf of the many families, children, veterans and chronically homeless individuals we serve, I’m proud of all that the Homeless Services Network (HSN) has been able to accomplish,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “Funding from our federal partners is crucial and gives much needed support to our regional homeless and housing initiatives. HUD’s commitment recognizes our CoC as one of the top three highest awarded in the state. HSN’s determination to complete this highly competitive and demanding grants process – despite the interruption and challenges of Hurricane Irma – makes this accomplishment even more meaningful.”

Are believes Central Florida is unique in the way it encourages partnerships to tackle big issues successfully, and this community spirit was evident in the successful federal application.

City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer stated, “I’m proud that for the third year in a row our region has been successful in securing federal funding for our Housing First initiative. This award of more than $7.5 million dollars by HUD is an affirmation that our community has demonstrated success in making homelessness rare, brief and one-time. There’s always more to do and many to help, but through our regional collaboration, we’ve seen an unprecedented level of support, and our efforts are producing results”

The funding will be distributed throughout 2018 and 2019.

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About Homeless Services Network of Central Florida (HSN): Established in 1992 as the lead agency for the Central Florida Continuum of Care, HSN serves Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, including the cities of Orlando, Kissimmee and Sanford. The nonprofit administers more than 25 grants through sub-recipient agencies that provide services to homeless households in our continuum region. Program funds provide permanent housing and support services, including case management and street outreach. For more information, visit www.centralfloridacoc.org.

About Orange County Government: Orange County Government strives to serve its citizens and guests with integrity, honesty, fairness and professionalism. Located in Central Florida, Orange County includes 13 municipalities and is home to world-famous theme parks, the nation’s second-largest convention center, and a thriving life science research park. Seven elected members make up the Board of County Commissioners including the Mayor who is elected countywide. For more information, please visit www.OCFL.net or go to the Orange County Facebook and Twitter pages.

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