LOS ANGELES (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the nation’s top housing official announced yesterday that homeless programs nationwide will receive a record $1.4 billion in Housing and Urban Development grants.
HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said an unprecedented number of local projects will receive the federal funding, which includes $228 million for California and $53.4 million for Michigan.
An increasing number of faith-based organizations will be among the 4,400 local programs across the country receiving the aid.
The announcement was made at the PATH Residential Service Center, a facility near downtown that provides a range of social services to the homeless.
“I have always said that I will be ‘The Collectinator,’ and I always will make sure we get help from the federal government and we get our fair share,” Schwarzenegger said, referring to his roles in the “Terminator” action movies.
The Republican governor has been criticized by some Democrats for not getting more federal funds for California.
In 2003, the state received 78 cents in services and goods for each $1 sent in taxes to the federal government, according to the Washington-based Tax Foundation.
Schwarzenegger said he has been “nurturing” the relationship between California and the federal government since gaining office in a 2003 recall election. He said the homeless funding was a result of his work.
It’s the fourth year HUD has provided record funding for homeless assistance. The Bush administration has a stated goal of eradicating chronic homelessness — defined as an individual who has been homeless for more than a year — by 2010.
HUD Secretary Jackson said President Bush has shown a strong commitment to fight homelessness.
“At a time of war, the president is still keeping his commitment to the urban agenda,” Jackson said.
About $1.2 billion of the federal grant money will be disbursed through HUD “Continuum of Care” grants awarded competitively to local programs. The remainder will be given as emergency shelter grants to states and local governments.
California received $208 million in competitive grants and $20 million for emergency shelters. The grants are the largest ever awarded to the state for homeless issues and a 15 percent increase over last year’s amount.
Nearly 70 grants worth $22.7 million will be awarded to faith-based organizations in the state, and almost $6.6 million is being given to 26 projects that target homeless veterans in California.
There are an estimated 360,000 homeless people in California, with about 80,000 in Los Angeles.
New York received $139.7 million of the federal money; Florida received $66 million and Texas got $64.5 million.