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U.S. allocates $10.6M for housing for Long Island homeless

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Rep. Peter King and officials for the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless in Amityville announced on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $10.6 million to continue to provide permanent housing for about 1,000 Long Islanders through next year -- an award that includes a bonus $1.1 million to develop "rapid rehousing" programs for another 300 people who need permanent shelter. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless announced Wednesday the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $10.6 million to continue to provide permanent housing for about 1,000 Long Islanders through next year.

The award includes a bonus $1.1 million to develop “rapid rehousing” programs for another 300 people who need permanent shelter.

Greta Guarton, the coalition’s executive director, and Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) announced the annual grant at a news conference in Amityville.

King noted the Long Island Continuum of Care, which includes more than 40 housing providers, had effectively eliminated veteran homelessness on Long island. The Coalition is the consortium’s lead agency.

“That does not mean there are no more homeless veterans,” consortium compliance manager Gabrielle Fasano said later. “It means there are systems in place to house them if they become homeless.”

Through October, the consortium had housed 1,104 veterans, she said.

The $10.6 million grant will help eliminate chronic homelessness on Long Island by the end of 2017 and end family and youth homelessness by 2020, Fasano said. The grant includes the $1.1 million that will be used to establish two new rapid rehousing programs to provide short and medium term rental assistance “to help get people back on their feet,” she said. The new programs are expected to help 300 homeless people, living in about 80 households.

Administrative costs for all housing providers are limited to 7 percent or less, she said.

The consortium will issue a new estimate of Long Island homeless population next month. As of Jan. 27, 2016, there were 3,960 people in emergency shelters, transitional housing or on the street — an increase of 100 over 2015. About half of the homeless were children.

“It’s not the gentleman in the street pushing a cart. It’s mostly families,” Fasano said.

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