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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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US homeless given fiscal boost

July 10 2009
Stimulus package will help prevent homelessness and aid people who have been hit by it US cities are to get roughly nine times more federal funding than expected to fight homelessness from President Obama's economic stimulus package. From the $787bn package, $1.7bn is being specifically targeted for homeless people. The Emergency Shelter Grant programme is to get $1.5bn on top of its normal funding. If the President's $3.6 trillion 2010 budget is passed, there will be more money for affordable and subsidised housing, and to help homeless veterans and families. The administration's two-pronged approach is to prevent homelessness, and to act swiftly to help people who have been hit by it. Money will also go towards helping victims of domestic violence who are at risk of becoming homeless and homeless children. Philip Mangano, executive director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, welcomed the fiscal boost: "This stimulus package is very expansive and inclusive for all Americans," he said. The nation's so-called Homelessness Czar said the stimulus was like "manna from heaven", because this extra money comes on top of the regular federal budget. On average, it is a 900 per cent increase on funding. "They weren't expecting these dollars," said Mr Mangano. The number of long-term homeless people in the States fell by almost a third between 2005 and 2007; however, the number of homeless families has increased by around 11 per cent since mid- 2008, and they now account for 34 per cent of the total homeless population. Shockingly, 42 per cent of the children in these families are under six. And a recent report from the National Center on Family Homelessness estimated that one in 50 American children is homeless.