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$2 million awarded to fund housing for the homeless in Utica

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has announced that nearly $2 million has been awarded to fund homeless housing and related support services in the City of Utica.

JCTOD Outreach, Inc. will use $1.9 million from OTDA's Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP) to create eight units of permanent housing for chronically homeless women with a mental health disability.

"Supportive housing is often the first, essential step in helping families and individuals build foundations for a better future," said Kristin Proud, Deputy Secretary for Human Services, Technology and Operations, who is currently overseeing OTDA. "It is critical that we do all we can to help some of our most vulnerable individuals – the elderly, victims of domestic violence, the mentally disabled and homeless youth – move toward economic security. This project will help accomplish that goal."

JCTOD plans to substantially renovate two two-family houses. The City of Utica has committed $211,724 in HOME funds for the project, which will be used for acquisition and development-related costs.

Residents will be required to contribute 30 percent of their income toward rent and tenants will be referred by the local department of social services, the Oneida County Department of Mental Health, local psychiatric hospitals and emergency shelters.

This is fourth time OTDA has awarded funding to JCTOD, through HHAP. The agency received $710,000 in 1996, $695,133 in 2004, and $1.5 million in 2007. In all, OTDA has invested nearly $10 million in projects that assist homeless and at-risk households in Oneida County.

OTDA has awarded $30 million in HHAP funding this year, providing capital grants and loans to not-for-profit corporations, charitable and religious organizations, municipalities and public corporations to acquire, construct or rehabilitate housing for those who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and are unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance.

HHAP meets a distinct need in New York by providing funding to develop housing for various special needs populations. Since the program's inception, it has assisted in the development of housing for families, adolescents, persons in recovery, mentally ill individuals, persons living with HIV/AIDS, individuals recently released from incarceration and veterans. HHAP is designed to help all families and individuals move out of homelessness and poverty and achieve the highest level of independence possible.

New York State, through HHAP, has been at the forefront in recognizing the value of providing supported housing for homeless families and individuals. HHAP has been utilized successfully by community organizations to develop more than 13,000 units of housing in New York State. In many instances, HHAP is the only State resource available to fund the capital development of these types of projects.

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