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Multi-million dollar grant to aid local homeless youth

Posted: 7:23 PM, Sep 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-09 20:59:59-04

WACO, TX — A $75 million grant has been given to 23 cities across the United States in effort to reduce youth homelessness.

Waco and San Antonio were the only cities in Texas to make it through the process and be granted funds.

"Waco is to be congratulated for doing such an outstanding job their winning application," said Patricia Campbell, the Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). "To be one of only 23 communities across this country to receive one of these youth homelessness demonstration grants is quite the achievement."

The grant given to Waco alone totals $2.23 million and was awarded the the Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition.

"What that money is going to go towards is to help each one of those cities and communities that received a grant can create and implement with the homeless organizations and child welfare agencies and their youth board," said Campbell. "It's going to allow them to put together and implement a comprehensive community plan to reduce or end youth homeless."

Effectively explaining to be a recipient is a large achievement, but now the process to move forward is a collaborative one that is handled within the community.

25 News reached out to Kelly Atkinson, the Executive Director of The Cove, a homeless youth nurturing center in Waco. Atkinson explained in part "to be clear it is the homeless coalition which is like a 6 county region collaborative entity, it'll probably be a year process of really figuring out and starting to run those programs."

Atkinson further explained that the grants are intended for housing specifically.

"The grantees will use the funding to support a variety of housing options for young people under the age of 25," said Campbell.

"When the communities including Waco were putting together their application, they had to consult with the organizations in Waco that work on eliminating youth homelessness," said Campbell. It will be the same or a similar group collaborating now to allocated the funds and plan appropriately.