combating chronic homelessness.

Dear Mr. Shaw:

Thank you for contacting me regarding funding for HUD McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. I appreciate hearing from you and would like to respond to your concerns.

Approximately 3.5 million people in the United States will experience homelessness this year, including 1.35 million children. Roughly 200,000 of these individuals will be homeless repeatedly or for long periods, all too often confronting mental illness, substance addiction or other chronic health conditions.

The Homelessness Assistance grants are a critical component for states, local governments, and their private sector partners who work to achieve the goal to end chronic homelessness nationwide. On April 25, 2006, I was pleased to send a letter along with a number of my colleagues to the Transportation, Treasury, Judiciary and HUD Appropriations Subcommittee seeking $1.536 billion for the HUD McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. This amount, consistent with President Bush’s request, represents an increase of $209 million from Fiscal Year 2006.

As former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, I understand the importance of homelessness assistance programs. I will continue to closely monitor the appropriations process with your concerns about the Samaritan Housing Bonus in mind. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that homelessness assistance grants and housing programs have adequate funding to provide communities in Florida and across the country with the resources they need to combat chronic homelessness.

Thank you for sharing your views with me. If you have further questions or comments, please contact me. If you are interested in learning more about policy issues, please feel free to visit my website at http://martinez.senate.gov.

Sincerely,

Mel Martinez
United States Senator

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