While the Homeless Trust houses and cares for more than 8,000 homeless or formerly homeless persons every day, approximately 1,056 remain unhoused and live on Miami-Dade County streets. But this month, the Trust was competitively selected to receive a $21 million grant to help reduce that number through significantly enhanced street outreach and get chronically homeless individuals housed. It was part of a first-of-its-kind package from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (USHUD) to reduce unsheltered homelessness.
Homeless Trust leadership was awarded these coveted grants because they presented a comprehensive approach and compelling case that the Continuum of Care was prepared, willing and able to activate a package of resources to help the community provide housing and supportive services to the unhoused. The award gives the Trust the added momentum and resources it needs to enhance street outreach and scale up permanent housing with the goal of ending homelessness. When programs begin in October 2023, nearly a dozen new and unique projects will be funded.
"Talk is cheap, but this is not talk, it's action," said Ronald L. Book, Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. "Our plan is on the fast track now thanks to USHUD. We have every intention of exceeding expectations and transitioning those on the street to housing."
USHUD was impressed by the Trust's comprehensive plan, which included partnerships formed with Public Housing Agencies (PHA's) in Miami-Dade, Hialeah, Miami Beach and Homestead. PHA's are receiving Stability Vouchers, which when paired with Trust-contracted supportive services, will provide supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals.
Other plan initiatives include:
- A Transitional Housing: Rapid Rehousing Joint Component Project operated by Camillus House will provide quick housing placement for unsheltered persons who request more time to stabilize before moving to permanent housing.
- Educate Tomorrow will launch a program for unsheltered, unaccompanied youth ages 18-24 and provide a 24-hour hotline for those in need with the ability to connect to youth to housing and services dedicated to young adults. (Photo Image?)
- The Hand-Up Project will add mobile peer supportive services to existing street outreach efforts in Miami Beach. Peer Specialists with a history of homelessness or successfully in recovery, will work to engage those experiencing unsheltered homelessness, help them navigate challenging tasks related to obtaining benefits and accessing community resources, and transition them into housing.
- The A.R.C. and Pathways Projects, operated by Miami Recovery Project and New Hope CORPS respectively, will focus on unsheltered persons with substance use disorders. The projects will engage unsheltered persons and connect clients to treatment and housing.
The Homeless Trust, led by Mr. Book and Executive Director Victoria Mallette, was proud to learn at a February 2, 2023, press conference that it secured the 5th highest award in the nation.
"We were so pleased to see plans like the excellent ones submitted by Miami-Dade. It lifted up partnerships with healthcare. These are the kinds of partnerships that truly improve and increase access to healthcare and services for those people who are experiencing homelessness," said Marion Mollegen McFadden, HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development.
The Homeless Trust will receive $7 million a year for three years to administer the new projects.
USHUD's $21 million grant further propels an already ambitious Homeless Trust initiative to acquire and renovate up to four facilities to provide new permanent housing for at least 550 households experiencing homelessness.
"Owning our own stock of permanent housing allows the Trust to control rents and quickly move clients experiencing homelessness out of shelters and off of the streets," said Book. "This influx of new resources will help us to dramatically reduce unsheltered homelessness."
Learn more about USHUD's announcement.