The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced the award of $2.5 billion to renew support to thousands of local homeless assistance programs across the nation. $9.5 million, representing a three percent increase in funding from the previous year, was awarded to continue the support of 20 projects in Fairfax County.
Locally, this funding is used to support 16 permanent supportive housing projects, three rapid rehousing projects and to assist with administrative costs. Service providers use this resource to pay for leasing and rent costs as well as supportive services – including housing stabilization and basic needs such as food, medical care, etc.
“As the importance of having a stable home environment has been brought to the forefront this past year due to the pandemic, there has been increasing emphasis on the need to provide assistance for those who are experiencing homelessness,” said Tom Barnett, Director of the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness. “These funds are essential to our ability to provide critical services for helping our neighbors in need establish a positive trajectory for housing stability moving forward.”
Permanent supportive housing supports some of the most vulnerable members of our community – those who have experienced chronic homelessness. This funding contributes to nearly 75% of the permanent supportive housing beds available in Fairfax County. The rapid rehousing projects target specific populations, including transition aged youth (between the ages of 18-24) and victims of domestic violence, and help move more than 100 households from homelessness to housing each year.
Traditionally, the Continuum of Care funds are awarded through a competitive process; however, the FY2021 funding was dramatically streamlined to ensure the continuation of federal funding to assist local Continuums of Care in meeting the enhanced need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office to Prevent and End Homelessness, part of the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development, coordinates the annual application for funding on behalf of the non-profit partners that serve as the direct funding recipients.