Nearly $9 million in federal stimulus money will go to aid San Francisco’s homeless and those in danger of losing their homes due to the recession.

The more than $8.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide short-term rental assistance to homeless people, expand eviction prevention and outreach programs, and provide housing counseling and legal services to renters who have been evicted or are at risk of eviction, according to the mayor’s office.

The money can only be paid out to third parties such as landlords or utility companies, the mayor’s office said.

The funds “will not only spare families the hardships of homelessness, but will save taxpayers significant money in the long run,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement.

“Often times, a little bit of financial assistance can make all the difference between a stable home and being forced to live in a shelter or on the streets,” Donovan said.

The grant is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, aimed at preventing homelessness, quickly re-housing those who have lost their homes, and stimulating the job market.

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