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Lt. Governor Becky Skillman

Indiana Lt. Governor, Becky Skillman, was in Richmond on Thursday, October 1st to announce a change in homeless service delivery that will bring needed dollars to Wayne County.  Mayor Sally Hutton and Dunn Center CEO, Kay Whittington were also on hand for the event.

Photo taken October 1, 2009

Learn more about the Lt. Governor's office.

Press Release, Oct 01, 2009:
Lt. Governor Skillman Announces Change in Homeless Service Delivery

RICHMOND - Lt. Governor Becky Skillman today announced a fundamental shift in the way homeless services are delivered in Indiana, and touted tax credits that will help build new homeless housing in Richmond. Indiana's Homelessness Prevention and Re-Housing Program (HRPRP) is being praised by the federal government for organizing local programs, strengthening the state's Continuum of Care system, and creating a common assessment tool.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority is using a portion of $16 million in federal funding to create a web-based tool - called IHOPE - that assesses each individual who enters the homeless system, identifies barriers to self-sufficiency, and addresses each barrier while finding a housing solution. Local homeless agencies began using the software today.

For example, a single parent who is homeless because they can't afford child care, and thus can't keep a job, would be helped into permanent supportive housing and also connected with child care providers. This is a change from past practice, which would have provided the family with temporary housing without addressing the underlying reasons for homelessness.

"This new system will save the state thousands of dollars across the board in medical, incarceration, emergency shelter and other expenses," Lt. Governor Skillman said. "But more importantly, it will help Hoosier families and individuals maintain a stable way of living and end the cycle of chronic homelessness."

Since March, IHCDA has been training local continuums of care on how to assess individuals and deliver a solution that will help them back on their feet. The system is unique to Indiana, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was impressed with Indiana's HPRP model and featured it in six national training sessions they held over the summer.

The state's goal is to reduce the number of temporary homeless shelter admits by 30 percent in three years. About $500,000 of the federal funds were used to develop IHOPE and train local homeless service providers. The remainder will be used for rental assistance and homeless case management across the state.

Lt. Governor Skillman also announced the state will deliver tax credits and a grant totaling $1.3 million for construction on the Dunn Center's new facilities. IHCDA is providing the center with a $340,000 Community Development Block Grant and $960,000 in Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The new building, adjacent to the existing facility, will contain 60 housing units for homeless Hoosiers struggling with mental illness, substance abuse, or disability.

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