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Louisville Tries Extending "Successful" Homeless Prevention Program

Louisville Metro Government is trying to extend the success of a three-year federally funded homeless prevention program that recently ended.The city received nearly $5 million in 2009 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to implement its Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program."We couldn't be more pleased with the successful outcome and the professional conduct and management of this by the Louisville Metro staff," said Roger Leonard with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversaw the grant process.Through the program 2,215  individuals were helped with rent payments and several were provided case management and resources to reverse the effects of the recession, according to a report released Tuesday by the Louisville Urban League, one of several organizations that helped the city implement the program.HPRP was delivered in two phases. The first phase, said Urban League's  Christie McCravy, occurring quickly to meet the high demand of individuals in need of financial assistance following the recession.  Phase two learned to streamline funds more efficiently to those who were self-sufficient prior to the recession and who were likely to meet the goals set out in the program.Now, Louisville will try to continue some of the program’s successes through new grants the city is using to respond to its homeless problem, said Joe Hamilton, grants manager at Louisville Metro’s Community Service and Revitalization.Under the city's current Emergency Solutions Grant, criteria that made HPRP a success--like consistent rent payments--will be a continued provision.“We also are mandating case management for all folks being served. So all folks will have financial counseling, financial empowerment, budgeting and then any other issues that occur will be able to be addressed through the case manager," said Hamilton.The target group of the new grants will be individuals located in homeless shelters, whereas only 20 percent of those helped thought HPRP were in shelters. But officials are confident the model of providing consistent rent--the new grant allows 12 months of stable rent based on family size and not income--along with other services will be successful. Around 250 individuals were being served each month through HPRP. The new program, with less funding, will serve 55 individuals at full capacity, said Hamilton.So far has helped about 35 individuals through the program, he said.