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HUD Provides $9.3 Million for Homeless Services in Erie County

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Some local agencies that serve the homeless are getting a little financial help from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Homeless Alliance of Western New York Thursday officially announced it has won a $9.3 million Continuum of Care grant from HUD. Several local agencies that provide services for the homeless will share the funding. The Alliance's executive director, Bill O'Connell, says the award was based purely on cooperation among the agencies. And he says the money will go directly to those agencies.

Corner Stone Manor, Gerard Place and Neighborhood Legal Services are just a few that will receive funding thorugh the grant. O'Connell acknowledged that more can still be done to further improve cooperation and streamline homeless services. But he says, numbers don't tell the whole story.

"There are over 70 agencies that serve the homeless. Often times, people will say isn't that too many. But what we're really talking about is organizations that are serving specific populations of the homeless," O'Connell said. "That specialization is actually needed. What the Homeless Alliance tries to do is bring everyone around the same table so that we are coordinating services."

He says the money from HUD will help make up for some of the funding cut due to the Erie County budget crisis. But, O'Connel says certainly not all of it. And he says agencies have to find ways to make ends meet, because homelessness is a problem 365 days of the year.