Communities in Franklin County and the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, will get federal money to try innovative approaches to reducing and eliminating youth homelessness.
In total, more than $4.3 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program will flow to western Massachusetts — more than $2.4 million to Springfield, and just under $2 million to the Greenfield-based Community Action Pioneer Valley.
HUD said the funding, which is part of a nationwide deployment of $75 million, is intended to "help these communities to build local systems and will support a wide range of housing programs including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and host homes."
"In being selected for this funding, Springfield and Community Action Pioneer Valley have demonstrated they have the key ingredients needed to successfully put in place a plan to end youth homelessness," HUD New England Regional Administrator David Tille said.
Tille joined Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Community Action Pioneer Valley Executive Director Clare Higgins at Springfield City Hall on Thursday morning to make the announcement.
"Though we have made positive strides in tackling homelessness in Springfield, there is more to be done, and no youth should ever be left without the positive foundation of a home," Sarno said. "This investment of not only a home, but just as importantly, in the human spirit, makes for a better Springfield... a better Massachusetts... a better America."
A 2017 HUD study reported that the number of families with children experiencing homelessness in Springfield was second-highest among small cities across the country.
In early 2018, HUD reported that Massachusetts had an estimated 20,068 people experiencing homelessness on any given day, including 465 unaccompanied young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.
This report was originally published by State House News Service.