kathleen_sebelius_web.jpgKids In Distress of Broward and Palm Beach counties, a nationally licensed and accredited agency working toward the prevention of child abuse, preservation of the family, and the care and treatment of abused and neglected children, has received a $5 million grant financed by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

The announcement was made by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Kids In Distress, as lead agency, and more than 30 experienced community-based housing and service providers in Broward County, will integrate subsidized housing and supportive services to stabilize at-risk families, particularly those at-risk for involvement or currently engaged with the child welfare system.

he primary locally financed grant partners include the Urban League of Broward County, ChildNet, Legal Aid Services of Broward County and Barry University.

Kids In Distress engaged Group Victory, the strategy and organization development consulting firm that led the creation of the grant proposal. Group Victory will facilitate implementation of the project’s system of care as well as sustainability planning for programming well beyond the five-year federal grant cycle.

In an innovative partnership, all six Broward County public housing authorities formally and collectively agreed to make housing subsidies available. The subsidies are worth nearly $500,000, will allow families the opportunity to select housing throughout Broward Co- unty. 

“The fastest growing homeless population is families,” said Alan Tinter, board chairman of Kids In Distress. “The numbers here are staggering. Ninety four percent of the 414 homeless children in Broward County are a member of a homeless family and as of today there are 1,979 children in our child welfare system locally. With this project, Kids In Distress, with our partners, will be able to accommodate low-income families in Broward County who are at risk of losing their children because they are homeless.” 

Kids In Distress joins the Community Alliance for the Homeless (Memphis, Tenn.), Four Oaks Family and Children’s Services (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), San Francisco Human Services Agency and the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families as the grantees selected to create supportive housing initiatives.

Each will receive $1 million per year for five years from ACF to demonstrate the effectiveness and potential cost savings of projects incorporating stable housing and comprehensive services that focus on safety, positive family functioning and child well-being.

Additionally, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs, and Edna McConnell Clark Foundation will provide a combined total of at least $10 million over the next five years. The money will be used for technical assistance and rigorous national evaluations of the supportive housing plan’s effectiveness. 

Supportive housing toward ending family homelessness is a key goal of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is chaired by Sebelius.