Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced a second round of grants for more than 500 local homeless housing and service programs, according to the agency.

The grants were provided through HUD’s Continuum of Care Program. The $72 million in grants will support a wide range of programs including street outreach, client assessment and direct housing assistance. 

This year, HUD challenged local communities to reexamine their response to homelessness and give greater weight to proven strategies for providing re-housing for homeless families.

"We know these modest investments in housing and serving our homeless neighbors not only saves money, but saves lives," Donovan said. "These local programs are on the front lines of the Obama Administration’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness as we know it once and for all."

In March, HUD awarded more than $1.5 billion in a first round of grant funding to renew support for more than 7,000 other local programs.

While the fiscal year 2012 funds awarded are not impacted by the automatic across-the-board budget cuts under sequestration that began March 1st, Donovan cautioned that future budget cuts may reverse significant reported declines in homelessness.

"During this challenging budget climate, we must make certain that we don’t balance our books on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens," he said. "When we make event modest investments in these programs, we see a measureable decline in homelessness."

HUD’s Continuum of Care grants announced will continue offering permanent and transitional housing to homeless persons as well as services including job training, health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and child care.