U.S. grants $29 million to boost Philly efforts to help homeless

Philadelphia will get $28 million to provide temporary and permanent homes. (Emma Lee/WHYY

Philadelphia will get $28 million to provide temporary and permanent homes. (Emma Lee/WHYY

The federal government is giving Philadelphia $28 million for programs that help homeless residents.

The grant, awarded to the city’s Office of Supportive Housing, will be split up among 86 programs to help provide more than 2,242 temporary and permanent homes for individuals and families. The money will be spent on rental assistance, leasing, operating and supportive services for these units.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development will also give Philadelphia $931,805 to develop a new homeless plan, as well as to fund a “point-in-time” count to track homeless young people, among other initiatives.

In 2015, the city counted 15,040 homeless people.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia City Council will hold a series of hearings later this spring on the growing problem of youth homelessness.

Councilwoman Helen Gym said the number of young people without homes in Pennsylvania has risen by 18 percent since the Great Recession. In Philadelphia, public school students experiencing homelessness rose to more than 70 percent from 2009 to 2013.

“But while these numbers are growing, the services have failed to keep pace,” said Gym. “The Philadelphia Office of Supportive Housing has only 4,000 emergency shelter beds, only 70 of which are devoted specifically for youth.”

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