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Remarks for Regional Administrator Rick M. Garcia N.D. Continuum of Care Homelessness Grant Event Wednesday, February 9, 2011 1:30 P.M.

Good afternoon, thank you Joel for the introduction.

Thank you all for coming today and joining us in Bismarck, N.D.

I'm pleased to join Joel Manske from HUD's North Dakota Field Office, Michael Carbone Executive Director with North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People, and our partners with the State of North Dakota's Continuums of Care.

Secretary Shaun Donovan, HUD recently announced, nationally, $1.4 billion to help more than 7,000 homeless prevention and supportive housing programs.

Today, I am pleased to announce the North Dakota funding: nearly $1.7 million is awarded to 18 local programs within the North Dakota Continuum of Care programs---all who serve our homeless men, women and children.

These CoC renewal funds arrive at a critical with the freezing weather. HUD staff know it is crucial to provide the renewal funding now.

With the Recovery Act's Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program-or HPRP-we have now prevented or ended homelessness for more than three-quarters-of-a-million people.

Just as importantly, according to the US Conference of Mayors, HPRP is “fundamentally changing” the way communities respond to homelessness.

Because communities aren't using these new tools to fight homelessness alone. Indeed, with Opening Doors-the first ever federal strategic plan to end homelessness, which was presented to President Obama in June-the Federal government is now a full partner in that fight.

The culmination of a decade of bipartisan progress at the federal, state and local levels, Opening Doors marshals the collective force of 19 separate agencies to this cause - reflecting President Obama's belief that homelessness isn't simply a noble fight, but a problem we can solve.

As important as each of these efforts are, the checks that we present today, today will provide a foundation we need for this strategy to make the biggest impact on the ground.

These grants support a broad range of housing and services-what we call the “continuum of care”-from street outreach and safe havens for those with serious health conditions and mental illness...to transitional and permanent homes that families need to start rebuilding their lives.

Nearly two thirds of the funding we are announcing today provides transitional and permanent housing. The remainder provides needed supportive services - from case management to job training to drug and alcohol treatment.

Most exciting of all is that, going forward, communities will have increased flexibility, through the HEARTH Act President Obama signed into law, to determine how best to use these funds to respond to homelessness - incorporating the successes and lessons of the last two years into this fight.

Our most recent data, collected by volunteers throughout the nation, found that 643,000 people were homeless during a given night in January 2009.

In North Dakota, 1,470 people were homeless on that same night. Over the course of that year, about two million people were living on the streets, or in emergency or transitional housing programs.

The community's count was just completed the night of Jan. 26 and during the day of Jan. 27. The count is essential understanding the extent of the problem is essential to solving it, particularly given today's tight fiscal environment.

Indeed, over the last decade, we've seen that when localities combine housing with supportive services the results are fewer ambulance and police calls--------------and fewer visits to the emergency room, ….importantly-real savings for taxpayers.

Our job now is to bring this proven model to every community in the country.

With the commitment of President Obama and members of both parties, with local leadership from around the country, and with these funds, we're confident we can - and will.

Now, I'd like to share the podium with the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People. Michael Carbone, will you share a few words this afternoon?

RICK: You will now present the check(s).

RICK-Close the program: Thanks to the Homeless Coalition and all guests for participating today. We look forward to preventing and ending homelessness --- with your help.

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