The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded $7.95 million to support 31 homeless housing and service programs in Delaware.

The Continuum of Care grants provide needed housing and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness across the state. The HUD funding is part of a record $2 billion being awarded to more than 7,300 local housing and service programs nationwide.

“The Continuums of Care are the ultimate public-private partnerships. They not only provide the oversight for work ending homelessness, but also develop the plan that addresses the needs and response plans for homeless efforts in their communities,” said Joe DeFelice, regional administrator of HUD’s Mid-Atlantic region.

In December, HUD reported homelessness crept up in the U.S., especially among individuals experiencing long-term chronic homelessness. HUD’s 2017 annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that 553,742 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017, an increase of 0.7 percent.

HUD estimates there were 994 persons in Delaware experiencing homelessness on a single night in 2017, a decrease of 7.1 percent. The state also continued to make good progress in reducing veteran homelessness, noting a decline by 15 percent during the same period.

Across the nation, local homelessness planning agencies, called Continuums of Care, will organize volunteers to help count the number of persons located in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and living unsheltered on the streets. These Continuums of Care will report these one-night “point-in-time counts” later in the year and will form the basis of HUD’s 2018 national homeless estimate. Delaware’s annual count will take place Jan. 31.