|San Jacinto News Times - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Homeless agency gets state grant
AUSTIN — The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) recently announced a major funding award designed to prevent or mitigate the effects of homelessness across the state. TDHCA awarded $8.7 million in Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program funds to 38 cities and nonprofit organizations providing homelessness prevention assistance to individuals and families who might otherwise become homeless, as well as to rapidly re-house persons who become homeless. The Women’s Shelter of East Texas, which serves San Jacinto, Angelina, Houston, Nacogdoches, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby and Trinity counties, was awarded $75,000 from TDHCA. “The high cost of homelessness falls not just on individuals and families but also Texas communities, and reducing its impact is an important mission of the Department,” said Tim Irvine, TDHCA Executive Director. “When homeless individuals obtain housing, their use of all other public resources tends to decline dramatically: arrest rates fall, emergency room visits drop, individuals attain employment, and their condition generally stabilizes. “The awards THDCA announced will help reach greater numbers of individuals and families before they become homeless while restoring stability and selfsufficiency to the lives of thousands of Texans who already find themselves with no permanent home,” he concluded. The grants were made through TDHCA’s 2012 ESG Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition to helping individuals obtain permanent housing, ESG funds can assist with the rehabilitation or conversion of buildings for use as emergency shelters, the payment of eligible expenses relating to the operation of an emergency shelter, and the provision of essential services to homeless individuals. Services may include medical, nutritional and psychological counseling; substance abuse treatment; transportation and job training; and the development and implementation of homelessness prevention activities. While figures vary, the Texas Interagency Council for the Homeless estimates that 37,000 Texans on any given night sleep on the streets, in campsites, under bridges, in abandoned lots, in emergency shelters, and in numerous other places not intended for human habitation.