Upwords: Mayor cares about homeless, grant helps 32 families (update)

November 16, 2013

No one can ever accuse the Pensacola Mayor’s Office of being subtle. After a week when the city was getting criticized in social media for its alleged treatment of the homeless (Read BlanketGate), Mayor Ashton Hayward’s latest “Upwords” touts a grant that the city received and announced in July 2013.

In July 2013 the City received a one-time grant of $500,000 in HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds through Florida Housing Finance Corporation. HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households.

The grant received by the City is intended to provide rental subsidies to qualifying families, with a preference given to families who have been displaced as a result of a natural disaster. The City’s use of these funds is earmarked toward addressing the community’s need for transitional housing for households who are experiencing homelessness.

The City Housing Office, in partnership with EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless, will administer the program. ECOH will provide the referrals, and the Housing Office will issue a voucher to eligible families that will allow them to live in a rental unit of their choice for a 12-month period, as long as the unit meets basic program requirements. If sufficient grant funds are still available at the end of the initial 12-month period, the voucher may be extended for an additional twelve months.

The City began receiving referrals in late October and has already housed the first family. A second family is currently nearing contract, and five other families have selected units. It is anticipated the City will be able to assist approximately 32 households for up to two years, each using the HOME grant.

The homeless issue in Pensacola is much larger than 32 families, seven of which will be helped by year-end. Kudos for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, but more help is needed. The Independent News wrote about one group’s effort to make a difference: Satoshi Forest

Note: Originally I posted with the title – “Upwords: Mayor cares about homliness, grant helps 32 families.” Lol, a reader sent me note this morning about it. Fortunately my readers understood what I meant.

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