City crews removed the remains of a homeless camp evicted from a strip of space between northbound Interstate 83 and the Fallsway. Protestors greeted the workers early Friday morning at "Camp 83." (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun video)

Maryland will receive $45.6 million from the Obama administration for housing and local services for the homeless, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday.

The Continuum of Care grants will be used to renew support for 215 programs for another year, including more than $21 million for Baltimore-based services. The money will be used for street outreach, assessment programs, transitional and permanent housing, job training and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

About $1.54 billion will be distributed across the United States.

"The evidence is clear that every dollar we spend on those programs that help find a stable home for our homeless neighbors not only saves money but quite literally saves lives," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement. "We know these programs work and we know these grants can mean the difference between homeless persons and families finding stable housing or living on our streets."

The grants will not be affected by the sequester budget cuts that began March 1, according to HUD. But Donovan said future budget cuts could reverse the declines of homeless individuals that have been reported in communities around the nation.

More than 633,700 individuals were homeless in the United States on a single night in January 2012, according to the latest data available. That number was virtually the same as in 2011, although some places reported a decline. In Maryland, the homeless population was down by 7.4 percent.

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

Baltimore County will receive about $2.3 million in Continuum of Care grants; Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, $2.3 million; Howard County, $864,000; Harford County, $817,000; and Carroll County, $389,000.

ywenger@baltsun.com

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