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HUD Funds Support White Plains Church Homeless Services

Grace Community Church offers many homeless assistance programs, including Thanksgiving meals, pictured above.
Grace Community Church offers many homeless assistance programs, including Thanksgiving meals, pictured above. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Grace Church Community Center in White Plains was awarded $130,387 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care programs Thursday to help support its transitional housing program.

The White Plains church's program was one of 40 homeless assistance programs in New York to receive grants, which totaled $6,047,574 state wide and $72,189,033 nationally. These are the second of three rounds of funding HUD is expected to award this year. The first grants were awarded March 11 and totaled about $1.54 million.

The Westchester County Department of Social Services (DSS) domestic violence transitional housing program in White Plains received $107,001 and its supportive SRO received $30,600.

HUD awards these grants to local projects to support services like street outreach, assessment programs and transitional and permanent housing for the homeless.

Grace Church Community Center's program will provide 24 months of rent subsidies to up to 14 men and women now living in shelters. The program is geared toward those who have fallen through the cracks because they don't qualify for or didn't fit into other programs.

"This will allow us to move forward and fully ramp up the program and get people moving out of shelters and into apartments," Paul Anderson-Winchell, executive director of Grace Church Community Center, told The White Plains Daily Voice.

There are two people that have been placed in apartments through this program. But, it was put on hold for a while because the funds were in jeopardy of being cut, along with other Tier 2 grants across the country, Anderson-Winchell said.

"We moved forward cautiously, because we didn’t want to fully fill all the apartments and then a few months later find out the plug was being pulled," he said.

Now that the program's funding is secure, the church will resume placing people.

Another round of funding is expected later this year. But Donovan warns that the sequestration that began March 1 may impact future funds.

“During this challenging budget climate, we must make certain that we don’t balance our books on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens,” Donovan said in the statement. “When we make even modest investments in these programs, we see a measurable decline in homelessness.”

Homelessness in New York rose overall 9.6 percent in 2012, despite significant declines in long-term homeless and veterans. The number of sheltered and unsheltered families with children increased in 2012, according to HUD.

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