PHILADELPHIA — The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) just announced that it was awarding $34.5 million in federal funds to support homeless service programs in Philadelphia.

The funding includes $31.9 million in grant renewals for existing programs and $1.6 million in new projects.

New projects include an innovative housing program for youth ages 18-24 experiencing homelessness, including those who have aged out of foster care, identify as LGBTQ, or are returning from the juvenile or criminal justice systems.

Other new projects include funding trauma-informed training for staff who first encounter those seeking help with a special focus on domestic violence survivors as well as funding for additional staff working with youth experiencing homelessness. The youth funding covers new trained navigators to assist young people obtain emergency housing along with providing homelessness diversion services, like family mediation to resolve conflicts safely and effectively.

The City’s Office of Homeless Services (OHS) directly administers more than half of the total funding. HUD directly administers other funds.

Both the new and renewal funds are critical to programs providing housing opportunities for Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents.

“This award is a wonderful example of government at every level working together to improve lives,” said OHS Director Liz Hersh. “The programs that HUD supports make a huge difference on the ground here in Philadelphia. Our providers are doing amazing, heroic, and compassionate work. I thank the federal government and Regional HUD Administrator Joe DeFelice for HUD’s continued and expanded support of them.”

Grants experts at OHS submit the renewal application every year for all HUD-funded homeless service providers in Philadelphia, combing through thousands of documents and figures to make Philly’s application strong.

“This application requires a high degree of expertise and attention to detail every time we submit it,” explained OHS Deputy Director MaryBeth Gonzales. “Our providers work closely with our performance management team to make sure that Philly makes the strongest case every year for continued and in some cases expanded federal support. It’s not guaranteed, and the competitive grants process keeps us and our providers in a constant state of evaluation and improvement. That in turn ensures that the most vulnerable Philadelphians receive the highest level of service.”

State by state information as well as a full list of local providers receiving renewals is available online from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.