The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is sending $22.4 million to Maryland to get people who are homeless -- or at the brink of homelessness -- into rental housing. The money, part of a new $1.5 billion program, is supposed to pay for short- or medium-term rental assistance and services, HUD said. That might mean security deposits, for instance, or utility payments.
HUD, which issued its 2008 report on homelessness yesterday, says it's seeing a change that reflects these recessionary times: "many more" people are showing up at shelters who until the night before had a place to stay. The agency says "most of these persons appear to be wearing out their welcome with family and friends." Also:
The agency estimated that Maryland's homeless population shrank a bit last year, to 9,219 from 9,628. But that count was done in January 2008, one month into the national recession and before Maryland's unemployment rate began rising fast. (Joblessness was a low 3.6 percent at the beginning of '08. Since then it's doubled to 7.2 percent, the highest in 26 years.)
HUD ranked Maryland 18th among the states for its number of homeless residents compared with its total population. That share: 0.16 percent, the same as New Jersey and Tennessee.
Oregon, at 0.54 percent, had the country's highest share of homeless residents, according to the estimates. Kansas, with 0.06 percent, had the lowest.