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Homeless help programs get federal funds

Homeless help programs get federal funds

Programs wouldn't exist without federal money

Organizations across the Capital Region will continue to fight homelessness, with the awarding this week of more than $60 million in federal funds.

The money was spread across 38 groups in upstate New York and was administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care Program, according to a prepared statement from U.S. sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The funding is meant to help nonprofits and local and state governments find housing for the homeless and promote access to programs that encourage self-sufficiency.

“Typically, we’re serving people who are at high risk of being homeless chronically, if they don’t get these supports,” said Debra Schimpf, executive director of Schenectady Community Action Program (SCAP).

Her organization received $1.05 million, the same level of funding as last year, which will support three separate programs.

SCAP's permanent housing program, which received $544,394 in the latest funding provision, provides 27 apartments through private landlords, along with support services. In 2016, the program served 112 individuals, 62 of whom were children, Schimpf said.

Rapid rehousing, a program entering its second year, received $341,196. That will go toward helping families move out of homelessness by providing up to a year's worth of rent to private landlords. The program is expected to serve 76 people next year, she said.

SCAP’s Sojourn House was also awarded $169,065. Over the past year, the program served 64 mothers and 109 children, with a goal of bringing them out of homelessness and providing a stable living environment, so they can eventually move into permanent housing, Schimpf said.

The YWCA of Schenectady received $356,090 for its Rosa’s House program, which serves single women with disabilities, including mental illness, physical impairments and lifelong illness, said Kim Siciliano, executive director.

“Without those funds, we couldn’t run the program,” she said.

The effort subsidizes rent for 24 apartments in Schenectady and served 32 women in 2016.

“The most they pay in rent is $300,” she said.

A total of $3.72 million was awarded to organizations in Schenectady County. Bethesda House of Schenectady Inc. received $615,913, and the Capital District YMCA was given $197,463 to support 30 shelter beds in Schenectady.

Mohawk Opportunities Inc. also received $280,166; New Choices Recovery Center was awarded $664,948; Safe Inc. of Schenectady received $49,202.

Saratoga Springs was awarded $303,933 for its Shelter Plus Care Rental Assistance Program, which helps pay rent for 26 mostly one-bedroom apartments, Mayor Joanne Yepsen said.

“These funds will enable rents to be paid to further prevent homelessness,” she said. “We are working hard with HUD to create more affordable housing."

Saratoga County organizations received $818,734 in funding in total, with Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County, also known as Wellspring, getting $263,441, and the Saratoga County Rural Preservation Company receiving  $251,360 to support housing for veterans.

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