Tuesday February 10, 2004
Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced that he will target $1 million over the next two years on a program designed to move more homeless families toward self-sufficiency.
The program - Homeward Bound - will spend $500,000 in federal grant dollars in each of the next two years on rent subsidies for homeless families. In addition, with the assistance of several non-profit groups, case management will be provided to families that will include job training, advice and education about housing and personal finances.
At Abramson’s urging, the business community also is investing in the program. The Louisville Apartment Association announced today that it is soliciting from its membership the use of 50 apartments that would be available to participants in the program along with a variety of inducements such as waived or discounted security deposits.
In addition, Louisville law firm Stites & Harbison announced that it is donating 50 refurbished computers for families in the program.
“Homeward Bound essentially provides an additional rung on that ladder to self-sufficiency - between transitional housing and permanent housing,” Abramson said this afternoon during a speech to business and community leaders. “This program shows how our new Louisville government can create a multi-department team to address a community problem, working in partnership with our local non-profits and the business community.”
The program will select participants who have shown a capability for improving their lives. For example, the working poor, who no longer receive welfare benefits but make too little to afford rent in many cases, would be eligible for assistance through Homeward Bound.
The announcement of the Homeward Bound program locally comes as more national attention is being focused on the growing challenges associated with homelessness.
Phil Mangano, the executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, is in Louisville today touting the national “Blueprint on Homelessness,” which has as a goal eradicating chronic homelessness in the next 10 years.
Louisville is one of the first communities in the United States to endorse the program. Locally, the Coalition for the Homeless has created its version of the Blueprint to help eliminate homelessness.
“The hope is that someday in the not-too-distant future, ‘homeless’ will not even be in our community’s vocabulary,” Abramson said. “That day will only come as a result of partnerships within government at the federal, state and local levels and within our community involving the public, nonprofit and private sectors.” ###