FRANKFORT, KY – May 27, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Gov. Steve Beshear, along with Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) Chief Executive Officer Richard L. McQuady, and Kentucky Interagency Council on Homelessness (KICH) Chair Kentucky Sen. Gerald Neal, today announced that Kentucky has applied for more than $18.5 million for a new program to provide rental assistance and services to prevent people from becoming homeless and to help those who are experiencing homelessness.
On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which includes $1.5 billion for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. In Kentucky, this program is called Kentucky’s Housing and Emergency Assistance Reaching The Homeless (KY HEARTH) Program.
Louisville, Lexington, Covington, and the state have applied for direct allocations of funding for the KY HEARTH Program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). KHC will administer the funding for the state. Nonprofits or units of local government are eligible to apply for funding from the state through a competitive process. KHC will hold an application training on June 16 and applications will be due to KHC by July 14, 2009. KHC will select all subgrantees and obligate funds to them by Sep.30, 2009. Individuals seeking assistance should contact subgrantees after Sep. 30. For more information about KY HEARTH, visit the Kentucky Homeless Web site at www.kyhomeless.org.
Today, KHC also released the results of the statewide 2009 Point-In-Time Homeless Count. A total of 5,983 homeless individuals were recorded during the biennial count, which was originally scheduled for Jan. 29, 2009. Due to a massive ice and snowstorm that hit the state in late January, many regions conducted part or all of the count on Feb. 19, 2009. The weather and the rescheduling of the count by many areas to the later date are suspected to have had a major impact on the number of individuals included in the count.
“One of the most concerning findings from the 2009 Point-In-Time Count, which was the number of individuals who were precariously housed,” said Gov. Beshear. “Outside of Kentucky’s major metropolitan areas, almost 7,000 people do not have secure housing and are only one small event, whether it be an illness or cut in the numbers of hours they can work, away from being homeless. KY HEARTH will help this population, which is often overlooked because they are less visible not living on the streets.”
“Affordable housing is fundamental to a person’s ability to find and keep employment,” said Sen. Neal. “Data collected in the count revealed over half of the individuals who were homeless said they could not afford housing. It is important that, as we work to end homelessness in Kentucky, we address the need for safe, quality housing in the state.”
“Conducting a statewide count of individuals, who are often difficult to identify and locate, is a challenging task,” said KHC Chief Executive Officer Richard L. McQuady. “This already difficult endeavor was made even more taxing by extreme weather conditions. We appreciate the efforts of the volunteers, coordinators and partners who participated in the count.”
While the number of homeless persons recorded during the count is only a snapshot and does not represent the total number of homeless people in the state, the number coupled with other information collected in the count provides valuable information about the characteristics of the homeless population in Kentucky, such as why they are homeless.
HUD uses data collected during the count to determine how much funding will be available for homeless assistance in the state. HUD requires that the count be conducted every other year. To keep up-to-date data on the homeless population, Kentucky counts every year. KHC estimates that given the total homeless counted, Kentucky will qualify for over $17 million in funding.
The results of a two-year study conducted by the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville showed that it cost nearly $89 million over a two-year period to shelter and care for just over 7,000 single homeless adults. The study also showed that providing permanent housing to these individuals over the two-year period would have saved $6.4 million. This study, and others like it, demonstrates that providing permanent, supportive housing is the best and most cost-effective solution to homelessness.
The 2009 Point-In-Time Count Report is available on the Kentucky Homeless Web site at www.kyhomeless.org.