(CNSNews.com) - In these waning days of the Obama administration, the Department of Housing an Urban Development announced on Tuesday that it has awarded a record $1,953,210,272 to thousands of homeless assistance programs across the nation, including some in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to prevent and end homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded a record $1.95 billion in grants to nearly 7,600 homeless assistance programs across throughout the nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands," said a statement from HUD.
More than half of the money is going to programs in the 20 "blue" states plus the District of Columbia that voted for Hillary Clinton in November.
Excluding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the total amount going to the 50 states and the District of Columbia is $1,933,264,877. And of that total, 59.00 percent -- $1,140,698,805 -- went to states won by Clinton.
The awards have nothing to do with Clinton, but they do indicate that homelessness is more of a problem in blue states, some of them large and some of them small.
The "Continuum of Care" grants awarded to 7,600 groups are intended to "prevent and end homelessness."
HUD is urging states to spend the grant money on their "highest-performing local programs that have proven most effective" in reducing homelessness.
“Today marks another critical investment in support of those working each and every day to house and serve our most vulnerable neighbors,” said HUD Secretary Julian Castro. “We know how to end homelessness and will continue to encourage our local partners to use the latest evidence to achieve success. These grants support proven strategies to end homelessness once and for all.”
According to the administration's defintion, "An end to homelessness means that every community will have a systematic response in place that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible, or if it can’t be prevented, it is a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience."
The Obama administration is taking credit for a 14 percent reduction in the total number of homeless individuals since 2010, when it launched the first-ever comprehensive strategy on ending homelessness.
HUD says that on a single night in 2016, volunteers roaming alleyways, underpasses and other homeless encampments across the country counted 549,928 homeless persons. That imprecise count is used to measure improvements or deteriorations in homelessness.
HUD said it will try to "more accurately account" for young people in the nation's next one-night homeless headcount, which will take place in January.
Among the states getting Continuum of Care grants, California will get the largest share by far, a total of $352,946,617 for 933 local homeless-assistance projects. Next up is New York ($195,920,284 for 621 projects), followed by Illinois ($104,862,190 for 416 projects), and Pennsylvania ($100,357,941 for 515 projects).
At the other end of the scale, excluding the three territories, Wyoming will receive $291,611 for 5 projects; South Dakota gets $1,264,095 for 10 projects; North Dakota gets $1,903,991 for 20 projects; and Alaska gets $3,697,135 for 22 projects.
The complete list can be found by clicking here.