Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the Senate has approved $2.8 billion to help communities design and implement local solutions to end homelessness. Senator Collins included this funding as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill she authored, which passed the Senate by a vote of 84-9.
“This important funding will bolster Maine’s efforts to assist our state’s most vulnerable citizens with additional resources and promote their health, independence, and overall wellbeing. I am particularly pleased that this bill supports new housing vouchers for veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms as well as initiatives to find permanent housing for homeless and runaway youth,” said Senator Collins. “As the Chairman of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, I have championed funding for these important programs, and I will continue to work to prevent and end homelessness in Maine.”
Provisions authored by Senator Collins that will benefit Maine homeless programs include:
· Homeless Assistance Grants: The bill includes $2.3 billion in order to fully meet the renewal needs of the Homeless Assistance Grant program and provides an additional $280 million for Emergency Solutions Grants.
· Homeless Youth: The bill includes $80 million in funding for efforts to end youth homelessness in both urban and rural areas. In August, Senator Collins announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $3,354,677 to the Maine State Housing Authority (MaineHousing) to combat youth homelessness throughout the State of Maine.
· Victims and Survivors of Domestic Violence: The bill includes $50 million for new rapid rehousing projects that serve victims and survivors of domestic violence.
· Section 8 Vouchers: The bill includes $20 million for new family unification vouchers to prevent youth exiting foster care from becoming homeless.
· Housing for Veterans: The bill includes $40 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers to reduce veterans’ homelessness. Since the HUD-VASH program was first established in 2008, Maine has received 238 vouchers to support homeless veterans. Senator Collins’ efforts have contributed to homelessness among veterans declining by 49 percent since 2010. In April, Senator Collins hosted Secretary Wilkie in Maine to visit a veteran-owned small business, participate in the groundbreaking for a new veterans residential care facility, and tour an organization that provides housing for homeless veterans.