On Thursday, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it was sending $83.2 million to Florida to support 327 groups helping the homeless across the Sunshine State. 

HUD Sec. Ben Carson announced the money was coming through Continuum of Care grants. This year, at the national level, HUD plans to send $2 billion in the grants to more than 7,300 programs helping the homeless. This year, HUD is working with state and local governments, nonprofits and other groups to showcase more effective solutions to homelessness. 

“HUD stands with our local partners who are working each and every day to house and serve our most vulnerable neighbors,” Carson said on Thursday. “We know how to end homelessness and it starts with embracing a housing-first approach that relies upon proven strategies that offer permanent housing solutions to those who may otherwise be living in our shelters and on our streets.”

According to HUD’s statistics, last year, there were almost 554,000 homeless Americans, an increase of .7 percent from last year with much of that increase taking place in California. 

In Florida, there were almost 32,200 people who experienced homelessness last year, a decline of 4 percent. 

A list of the groups in Florida helping the homeless and getting Continuum of Care grants from HUD can be found here

Across the country, HUD has launched “Continuums of Care” composed of volunteers trying to count the homeless population. On Thursday, Denise Cleveland-Leggett, HUD’s Southeast Regional Administrator, praised HUD’s volunteers. 

“Our local partners are to be commended for their commitment and ongoing efforts to address homelessness,” she said. “Progress is being made but we must remain resolute in our mutual commitment to more innovatively and effectively address homelessness through a housing-first approach that is evidence based.”

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