For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Contact: Kurt Larrick 703-228-1775 (voice) 703-228-4611(TTY)
Arlington, Va --- Arlington has been awarded $540,000 in federal funding to help families keep their children from entering foster care because of housing problems. The funding will also help reunite families whose children have entered the foster care system primarily due to housing problems, and will be available to youth who have left foster care and are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Arlington was one of only three Virginia jurisdictions to receive funding through HUD’s competitive award process. Nationally, the total award included $20 million spread across 20 states.
The funds, in the form of housing vouchers, are part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Family Reunification Program (FUP). The vouchers will enable families to lease or purchase decent, safe and sanitary housing that is affordable and allows their family unit to remain intact.
The housing subsidies are expected to allow Arlington to assist 50 individual and family households starting this fall.
“The vouchers will help Arlington families live under the same roof as they work to get back on their feet,” said County Board Chairman Jay Fisette. “Too often, the lack of adequate housing poses the threat of separation or prevents reunification. We will also use the vouchers to support youth leaving foster care, those who have reached the age and service limits of the child welfare system without having found a family through adoption or reunification. Without the ongoing supports of those raised in family settings, these young people face unimaginable struggles, not the least of which is homelessness.”
Arlington has a strong public and private sector commitment to support youth and families who have been affected by the combined impact of poverty, lack of affordable housing, domestic violence within the family, and resulting potential separation among family members. The documented need for serving these families has increased particularly in the area of domestic violence, where there has been a 26% increase in requests for shelter from FY08. The two local hotlines, one run by the county’s Violence Intervention Program (VIP) and the other by nonprofit agency Doorways for Women and Families, report increases in calls of 122% and 64% respectively from FY08 to FY09.
Staff in Arlington’s Department of Human Services—including its Housing Assistance Bureau, Economic Independence Division, and Child and Family Services Division—were instrumental in securing the HUD funding.
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.