Erie County is getting more than $5.5 million to help fight homelessness.

The county’s Department of Mental Health was awarded the federal funds from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Officials say the money will help provide an additional 1,000 beds for transitional and permanent housing projects.

A recent tally indicates the current homeless population of Western New York is around 6,000 people. 

“We are very proud to once again receive the HUD continuum of care grants,” said Michael Ranney, Erie County’s mental health commissioner.  “This funding will be utilized in our dedicated efforts of addressing homelessness in our region and how mental health can play a role in why a specific individual or a family becomes homeless. Identifying and locating permanent housing solutions for the homeless of our community remains a top priority of our department.”