HUD funding helps homeless housing here

HUDSON–The Mental Health Association of Columbia and Greene Counties, a member of the Columbia Greene Housing Coalition, will receive $95,458 from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for housing and support for individuals and families.

The funding, announced last week by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, was part of nearly $201 million to support 731 new local homeless programs nationwide as part of the Obama Administration’s plan to prevent and end homelessness.

The Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties, Inc. provides education and advocacy, seeks opportunities that enhance the mental health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. The agency is affiliated with National Mental Health America, Mental Health Association of New York State, Inc. and United Way of Columbia-Greene Counties.

The funding is part of the HUD Continuum of Care program (CoC) to support housing homeless persons and as well as job training, mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment. The grants were awarded competitively to local programs. Continuum of Care programs offered locally include:

*Supportive Housing Program offers permanent housing and supportive services to allow homeless persons who are disabled to live as independently as possible. Local providers include: Community Action of Greene County, Mental Health Association of Columbia & Greene Counties, and Columbia Opportunities, Inc.

*Shelter Plus Care programs provide housing and supportive services on a long-term basis for homeless people who have had chronic problems with alcohol and/or drugs and their families. Twin County Recovery Services, Inc. operates this program.

The Columbia Greene Housing Coalition serves as the primary planning and decision making group for the HUD Continuum of Care program. Coalition members work collectively on the development of the competitive grant application, which is submitted each year by Columbia Opportunities, Inc.

In 2005 the Columbia Greene community received its first HUD Continuum of Care award to develop nine permanent housing opportunities for homeless individuals and families and to establish a Homeless Management Information System. The 2011 award is the sixth successful CoC application developed by the Housing Coalition. Since 2005, Columbia and Greene Counties housing providers have received over $1.3 million dollars in CoC funding to help provide permanent housing for people who are homeless. More than 30 housing opportunities are supported with this funding.

Columbia Opportunities, Inc., the Community Action Agency serving Columbia County, receives funding from a variety of federal, state, local and private sources, including the Community Services Block Grant and the United Way of Columbia and Greene Counties.

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