HUD Dollars To Help Agencies Help The Homeless

Homelessness along the Coast is nothing new, but after Katrina even more people have no where to live. The storm blew away shelters like the Seashore Mission in Biloxi and the Gulfport Salvation Army.

As part of its one billion dollar commitment to the homeless, HUD is giving $640,000 to three agencies that will use the money to find housing.

"Each agency in their projects will essentially house individuals in scattered sites, apartments per se or single family dwelling homes," says Brandi Clarke of the Mental Health Association.

Affordable housing is in short supply for people of all incomes, and Clarke says solving the housing problem won't be easy.

"It will be a challenge for low income families as well as the homeless individuals for which we will provide that assistance for them to locate the housing but it's a challenge for the agencies as well."

For more than a year a task force appointed by Biloxi's mayor has looked for ways to end homelessness. HUD has set a ten year goal for cities to do that. In Biloxi's case, the hurricane could change the direction of meeting the deadline.

Bob Young, HUD Regional Director says, "The nature of homelessness on the Gulf Coast has changed dramatically from what it was let's say last August and certainly HUD stands ready to work with these organizations to help modify the plan, amend the plan as needed, to redevelop the plan if we need to do that so as you rebuild the coast we can make sure people aren't left behind and people here do have decent and affordable housing."

With thousands of dollars added to their budgets, the groups that help the homeless have a good head start in making sure that happens.