Two years can make a huge difference.

This is a reminder that the need to focus resources on permanent housing is something that is not only relevant to New Jersey. It also reminds us that past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

With great fanfare, Gov. Mitch Daniels held a news conference to accept a ceremonial, oversized check that included $12.7 million in federal grants for programs serving homeless people around the state. That was 2005.

But when Indiana received its latest federal homeless funding, it had little to celebrate. Funding plummeted to $3.57 million, or just 28 cents on the dollar compared with 2005, to feed and house homeless Hoosiers, train them for jobs and provide other services.

As state officials and advocates prepare their request for the next round of funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, some say the state needs to start putting money toward affordable housing if it expects to bring home a greater share of the federal grants.

“It should be a call to action for all of us, but especially the state of Indiana, to make an investment in people who are most vulnerable and most at risk,” said Michael Reinke, executive director of the nonprofit Indiana Coalition on Housing and Homeless Issues.

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