Homeless - federal funding - Florida The funds will fuel programs in Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties and the cities of Orlando, Sanford, and Kissimmee.
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Services will be expanded for people who have been on the streets for years, who struggle with mental illness or physical disabilities, and victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

Central Florida obtained a record amount of $12 million from the federal government for homeless people who often struggle with mental illness or physical disabilities, as well as victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

Homeless Services Network of Central Florida is receiving the funds to expand services in Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties and the cities of Orlando, Sanford, and Kissimmee.

The funding represents a 30% increase over last year, as part of ​​the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) annual funding competition and is an increase of nearly $3 million from last year’s funding, according to a news release.

“This timing of this award is critical, as COVID funds start to expire and our community members continue to struggle as a result of the pandemic. These funds will provide an opportunity to serve more individuals experiencing homelessness, expand our partnerships, and build more capacity in the region,” said Martha Are, CEO of the Homeless Services Network.

Each year, organizations across the country compete for a share of the overall homeless funding authorized by Congress through HUD. The agency gives bonuses to regions that have made progress in housing the homeless during the previous year.

For Central Florida, those bonuses — a total of nearly $1.88 million — will pay for rapid re-housing programs at local domestic-violence shelters Harbor House, SafeHouse of Seminole, and Help Now in Osceola.

They’ll also impact a new housing program with Catholic Charities for survivors of human trafficking and cover additional apartment units for formerly homeless residents with serious medical issues in Orlando and Kissimmee.

Florida ranks third in the nation in reports to the national human trafficking hotline.