HUD grants provide emergency aid for Tarrant homeless

Posted Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
Organizations that received new grants from HUD YWCA of Fort Worth $195,444 Community Enrichment Center $165,585 Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, (plannning) $143,040 Fort Worth Housing Authority permanent supportive housing $238,703 Safe Haven of Tarrant County rapid re-housing $156,098 Tarrant County Homeless Coalition coordinated intake and assessment $155,040 U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Francia Patino has spent the past two years living with friends and relatives after leaving her abusive husband.

As a single mother raising two children, Patino realized that she needed a place of her own, but didn’t have money for rent and other household expenses.

“I ran away from my husband’s house. I’m struggling, but I’m getting a place and a stable job, finally,” she said.

To help Patino reach her goal of a stable lifestyle, she is working with the YWCA in downtown Fort Worth, one of several agencies that is participating in a new initiative from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development called “rapid re-housing.”

HUD created the program to provide financial assistance and other services that will hopefully prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless and help those who already are to be quickly re-housed and stabilized.

Nationally, statistics indicate that specialized help is needed.

A 2012 estimate of the homeless population in the U.S. — based on a count from one night in January of that year — there were 633,782 homeless, similar to numbers gathered the previous year. But within that data, HUD saw a sharp increase in the number of homeless families with children.

Locally, the January 2013 census of the homeless in Tarrant County reported that 30 percent of those counted were 18 years old or younger, said Cindy Crain, executive director of the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition.

And according to the Presbyterian Night Shelter, Tarrant County’s homeless population has grown by about 10 percent in two years with the largest segment of the population being women and children.

“Rapid re-housing programs seek to stabilize recently homeless families with children and provide services and housing subsidy,” Crain said.

In all, Tarrant County received $1,053,910 in rapid re-housing from the housing agency. The funds provide for a variety of assistance, including short-term or medium-term rental assistance and housing relocation, credit counseling, security or utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance, and case management.

The YWCA received $195,444 in grant funding. Carol Klocek, executive director of the YWCA, said the agency receives around 200 calls a month from women needing help, and half of those calls are requests for assistance with housing, she said.

“They (women) are living in cars or they are living with friends and acquaintances who ask them to leave. We are really excited about the rapid re-housing dollars, it is a significant need here,” she said.

Randy Clinton, executive director of the Community Enrichment Center which received $165,585 for rapid re-housing, said he is pleased with HUD’s new initiative.

“We are excited about getting additional funding to help more people. Rapid re-housing is more effective than transitional housing,” he said.

Mary Lee Hafley, CEO of the Safe Haven of Tarrant County, said the $156,098 in rapid refund grant funds it received will be used for the Safe Solutions program which teaches women skills such as how to manage their finances and how to utilize programs such as food stamps while they are rebuilding their lives.

“It is a very strategic move from hand-holding in the beginning to moving away from that as the person gains skills,” Hafley said.

Hafley added that the funding will also be used to help pay for housing so that women won’t have to worry about having money for rent while they are getting back on their feet.

Patino said when she moves in to her apartment, she will have money to help with rent for several months while she continues her job training.

She is looking forward to one day becoming a social worker so that she can help people who were also abused and didn’t know where to turn for help.

“I found out that I really want to help people...” Patino said. “If I have the opportunity to study, I’m willing to learn.”

Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696 Twitter: @fwstliz

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?