The Obama administration has renewed its support for nearly 7,100 local homeless programs across the nation, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands with $1.6 billion in grants.

The Continuum of Care grants through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provide needed housing and critical support services for people and families experiencing homelessness.

“Whether it’s helping to rapidly re-house families with young children or finding a permanent home for an individual with serious health conditions, HUD is working with our local partners to end homelessness as we know it,” says HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

The Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively to local projects and fund a variety of programs from street outreach to permanent housing.

The fiscal year 2013 grants that were announced Tuesday were reduced in part due to last year’s across-the-board cuts under sequestration, and housing leaders are urging Congress to fully fund these programs. The president’s 2015 budget requests $2.4 billion for homeless assistance grants, which is $480 million above the 2012 enacted level.

“Now we need help from Congress to fully fund these programs and provide communities with exactly what they need to reach the goals of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness,” says Laura Zeilinger, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Opening Doors was launched in 2010 by President Obama and 19 federal agencies and offices to prevent and end veterans and chronic homelessness as well as homelessness among children, families, and youths.

Donovan adds, “Over the last few years we have changed the trajectory of homelessness in America, but we need bipartisan support from Congress to fully fund proven strategies that have created this downward trend. The evidence is clear that the cost of doing nothing far exceeds the cost of finding real housing solutions for those who might otherwise be living on our streets.”