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December 23, 1998

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I want America to be a country of neighbors. A country where neighbors volunteer their time to help improve schools or mentor a young person from a troubled home. A country where neighbors don't retreat behind gates and walls. A country where neighbors care and learn about those who eat different foods, celebrate different holidays, and have backgrounds very different from their own.

President Bill Clinton
December 23, 1998

Today, President Clinton will announce that his Fiscal Year 2000 budget will include $1.125 billion in homeless assistance --more than a 15 percent increase from the $975 million enacted last year. President Clinton will also announce that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding $850 million in grants to help more than 330,000 homeless people obtain housing and receive vital social services to reach self-sufficiency. The grants are part of President Clinton's Continuum of Care strategy to create safe, affordable housing and break the cycle of homelessness.

Strengthening Commitments To Help The Homeless Reach Self-Sufficiency. The President will announce that his FY2000 budget for HUD includes $1.125 billion for homeless assistance. The budget includes $1.025 billion for homelessness grant programs and $100 million for 18,000 additional Section 8 vouchers targeted to help homeless people move from homeless facilities into permanent residences. If enacted, the $1.125 billion will be the largest ever appropriation to HUD for homeless assistance. It builds on a long-term record of achieving budget increases for homeless assistance, totaling more than 70 percent since the President took office.

Helping The Homeless Receive Vital Services And Housing. The President will announce $700 million in Continuum of Care competitive grants to help homeless persons in 307 communities located in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The grants provide homeless people with transitional and permanent housing and fund social services such as job training, child care, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services. The grants are provided under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act and fund 1420 individual projects including more than 1000 non-profit organizations. The non-profit organizations receiving funds include local chapters of the Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, and Catholic Charities.

Providing Funding For Emergency Shelters. The President also will announce $150 million in funding for the Emergency Shelter Grants program. Under this program, states and cities select local projects to receive funding for emergency shelter and other homeless needs. The funds are distributed through a formula based on a community's housing and poverty needs.

Building On A Record Of Progress. President Clinton's Continuum of Care strategy, initiated in 1993, requires local public and private agencies to work together to create a comprehensive plan to address the needs of poor and homeless people, and to coordinate services to use resources most efficiently. The goal of the Continuum of Care strategy is to ensure that communities respond to homelessness not simply by providing emergency assistance, but by putting into place comprehensive and long-term approaches that will help homeless people become self-sufficient. The key elements are outreach and assessment; emergency shelter; transitional housing and services; permanent housing; and permanent supportive housing. In 1998, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the Ford Foundation recognized the Continuum of Care policy as one of the 25 finalists in Innovations in American Government.

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