As motel housing ends, state government offers help to local leaders
The Agency of Human Services is reaching out to town governments and social service organizations to help organize and support responses to the expected increase in unsheltered homelessness.
A federally-supported motel housing program ends on July 1, and more than 1,800 households are expected to lose their housing.
The Agency of Human Services sent out a memo this week to find out how local efforts are proceeding, and also to let organizers know that there is some state money to support new housing and shelter initiatives.
“We know the federal funding is coming to an end, and we recognize that there’s a potential for the unsheltered population to expand,” said Sarah Phillips, director of the Office of Economic Opportunity. “And we wanted to make sure that this information was reaching folks so that as they’re having conversations that can include us, and also let us know what they are considering.”
Phillips said there is $10 million in next year’s budget to support services for those leaving the motel housing program.
The state is specifically interested in setting up day shelters to provide showers, food and clothing, as well as new emergency shelters or temporary congregate shelters.
Phillips said the funding could also be used to support medical needs or set up street outreach.
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The memo asks local groups and municipal governments to send the state proposals for projects.
“The process invites local leaders to not just say, ‘we want additional funding,’ but to say, ‘we need this particular resource, or we need technical assistance, or maybe they need support in identifying a location,” Phillips said. “We want to know how far people have gotten in their planning, or what additional support could be added.”
Phillips said the state has been working closely with housing advocates across the state about the upcoming end of the federal housing program, but the memo seeks information on projects that are underway.
The state is looking for specifics around location, staffing, resource needs, funding, and operating details, and hopes to get responses back before June 1.
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