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San Diego to Get $6.17 Million to Help Prevent Homelessness

The city will get $6.17 million from President Barack  Obama's recently approved economic stimulus plan to help those in San Diego at  risk of becoming homeless, Mayor Jerry Sanders announced today.

The funds are intended to help those facing economic problems by  providing immediate housing assistance, such as short-term rental help,  relocation money and to pay for security and utility deposits.

"In these extremely difficult economic times, a growing number of low- income families, those who were struggling to make ends meet even before the  downturn, are faced with the very real prospect of becoming homeless," Sanders  said.

"These new funds aim to help pull people back from the brink and they  are going to be very helpful in preventing additional homelessness in our  city," he said.

The city is also slated to get $9.55 million in grants from the U.S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development to prevent and address homelessness  in San Diego.

The money can be used to provide permanent and transitional housing to  the homeless and to fund services such as job training, health care, mental  health counseling and child care.

The county is poised to get $1.9 million in federal stimulus money to  help families on the brink of homelessness. It will also get about $5.5 million  in HUD grants to fight homelessness.

Sanders was joined at a morning news conference by Phillip Mangano, who  heads up the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, and Brian Maienschein,  with United Way of San Diego.

Mangano said the federal funding will help San Diego implement its 10- year plan to end chronic homelessness in the city.

It is the most federal funding the region has ever received for  homelessness, Mangano said.

"Today's announcement of more funding certainly reminds us that if good  intentions, well-meaning programs and humanitarian gestures could end  homelessness in a place as hospitable as San Diego, it would have been history  decades ago," Mangano said.

"The fact is they don't," he continued. "And that's why a strategic  10-year plan -- a plan that is infused with political will and support and with  increased resources -- those are the resources to get the job done."

Maienschein, a former San Diego city councilman, said the money will  provide much needed assistance to the less-fortunate and the region's estimated  10,000 homeless people.

"This money will go a long way toward providing the housing and toward  providing the services for those who need it the most," he said.

Sanders said the city will work with the United Way and a local  commission on homelessness to determine where the federal money is allocated.

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