By Vicki Needham - 12/20/11 06:24 PM EST
The funding is $62 million more than last year; it is the most homeless assistance ever awarded by HUD.
The department announced last week that homelessness has declined 2.1 percent — 3,000 cities and counties reported 636,000 homeless persons — between January 2010 and January 2011.
In addition, HUD’s estimate reveals a 12 percent reduction in homelessness among veterans.
The grants provide permanent and transitional housing to the homeless as well as services including job training, healthcare, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and child care. The funding is awarded competitively to local programs such as street outreach and assessment programs.
HUD also manages a $1.5 billion Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), a three-year program funded through the 2009 economic stimulus. Officials say more than 1 million people have been helped through the program.