County Finds Homeless Grant Is Tripled

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Days after a Christmas Eve announcement that Orange County had received $2.4 million in federal grants for homeless programs in 2000, county officials learned from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that the true figure is $6.8 million.

Service providers in the county had been bracing for leaner times after HUD officials warned that funding would probably be reduced this year because of a sharp rise in requests for money. HUD received requests totaling $1.2 billion but had only about $750 million available.

So when HUD announced some of the grants to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) on Dec. 24, officials believed the award total had dropped significantly from the $6.5 million Orange County received for 1999.

"While I was extremely disappointed, I understood that it was a tough competition," said Karen Roper, who coordinates the county's homeless prevention programs. "Then we come to find out we did exceptionally well in the competition."

Roper said she and others learned of the additional grants via the Internet over the Christmas weekend. HUD funded 12 of the 13 requests submitted from Orange County. The additional grants will go to fund the following programs:

* The Health Care Agency and Orange County Housing Authority for Section 8 housing for 69 homeless mentally ill, substance abusers and people with HIV or AIDS.

* Episcopal Community Services for a seven-bed permanent housing project for mentally disabled, homeless men and women.

* Human Options for a 50-bed transitional housing project for victims of domestic violence.

* Interval House for bilingual case-management services for victims of domestic violence.

* Olive Crest Treatment Centers for outreach, assessment and case-management services for homeless youth.

* Saddleback Community Outreach for a 10-bed transitional housing project for families that are victims of domestic violence.

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