[Hpn] HUD Housing Aid Far Short Of Need - National Coalition for the Homeless (fwd) Homeless (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sat, 23 Dec 2000 17:54:31 -0800 (PST)

HUD Housing Aid Far Short Of Need - National Coalition for the Homeless (fwd)

FWD  Associated Press - Saturday December 23, 2000 2:20 PM ET


     By ROBERT WELLER, Associated Press Writer -

DENVER (AP) - Advocates for the homeless welcomed $1 billion in
grants announced by President Clinton Saturday, but said the strong
economy and tight housing market could blunt its impact.

``Most landlords would rather rent to a private person than go
through all the federal hoops like home inspections,'' said the
Rev. Del Maxfield, executive director of the Denver Rescue Mission.

Maxfield said the situation may not improve until the economy
sours and ``landlords begin lining up'' to rent to subsidized

As the economy has boomed, housing in cities across the country
has become too expensive for many people as low-income units have
been torn down to make room for upscale lofts, said Mary Ann
Gleason, housing analyst for the National Coalition for the

On any given night, there are as many as 700,000 people homeless
in the United States, up from 500,000 in 1996, Gleason said. The
total number of people who are homeless at least one night a year
jumped from 2 million in 1996 to 3 million this year, she said.

In his weekly radio address, Clinton said most of the Department
of Housing and Urban Development grants would go to 2,633 projects
in more than 350 communities nationwide to help homeless families
move from temporary to permanent housing, get treatment for
substance abuse and gain access to health care, job training and
child care. Some $150 million in grants will help 312 communities
maintain emergency shelters.

But Gleason said for every homeless person who finds housing
with federal assistance, ``two or three more will replace them in
the line.'' Before Clinton's announcement, there were only enough
federal housing vouchers for one-fifth of the applicants in Los
Angeles alone, she said.

Even those who get federal Section 8 vouchers, which pay up to
two-thirds of housing, may find themselves turned away by landlords
or have trouble paying the remaining rent.

``There are many homeless people walking around Denver with
Section 8 authorization,'' Maxfield said.

Some 44 percent of the homeless have jobs, according to the
Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Teri Levy, 33, of Denver, where apartment rents rose 70 percent
between 1990 and 1998, works 85 hours some weeks driving around the
city removing barricades for $9.50 an hour. She sleeps in her aging
Honda Accord, a gift. Her five boys, one of whom suffers from
schizophrenia, stay with the baby sitter she pays $600 a month.

Levy said she had rented a four-bedroom house for $1,250 a
month, using mostly money from a federal program. Then, the owner
sold it.

``I worry about my boys, and I want to be able to spend some
time with them,'' she said.

On the Net:

National Coalition for the Homeless: http://nch.ari.net/wwwhome.html

Department of Housing and Urban Development: http://www.hud.gov/


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