Housing authority receives grant to prevent homelessness

Published 8:39 am Thursday, November 5, 2020

The Housing Authority of Danville has been awarded a $37,000 Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG-CV) to help individuals and families who are facing homelessness.

The grant was provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and distributed through the Kentucky Housing Corporation.

According to the ESG website, “The Emergency Solutions Grant Program is designed to identify sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons, as well as those at risk of homelessness, and provide the services necessary to help those persons quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness.”

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Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Danville, Tim Kitts, said his agency will use these funds “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19 among individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homeless assistance, and to support additional homeless assistance and homelessness prevention activities to mitigate the impacts created by the virus.”
Kitts said, “There is a homeless population in Boyle County. When you consider families and even school-age young adults that are couch surfing, there is a larger homeless population than what people probably realize.”

He added, “Our agency receives phone calls daily of people that are losing their housing, leaving an abusive situation or another critical situation and need housing immediately. The hard part for us is telling them that 1) there is a waiting list and 2) the average time to get an offer on one of our apartments is six weeks.

The local housing authority will use the grant money to first aid those who are homeless specifically due to COVID-19. Then it will help homeless individuals and families who have not been directly affected by the pandemic, Kitts said.
Kitts said the agency will use a portion of the grant to lease a home for one year. “This will be a transitional home for homeless individuals or families throughout the year. An individual or family may only be there for one week or one month. This home is only meant to be a transitional home until they can obtain stable housing. If the home is occupied, we will have funds for hotel stays as well.”

Providing stable housing is “first and foremost” Kitts said.
The housing authority will be partnering with the Boyle County Health Department to identify individuals and families who may need housing services. It’ also partnering with the Shepherd’s House to provide case management for those requiring housing assistance.

Even though the Shepherd’s House primarily assists recovering addicts, the staff also has experience with the Homeless Management Information System component (HMIS), which is the reporting component required for this grant, Kitts explained.

“Whenever we are connected with a potential client, we will connect them to the Shepherd’s House to immediately begin case management, just to see what help needs to be provided. This could be as simple as obtaining paperwork for their drivers license or Social Security card. This could be food, clothing, or this could be addiction help. The case manager will be able to determine the next steps for the individual or family as we provide them stable housing.”
Kitts said, “We are taking a holistic approach with each person.”