The White House is launching a new initiative to combat the crisis of homelessness, working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on a national partnership entitled “House America: An All-Hands-On-Deck Effort to Address the Nation’s Homelessness Crisis.”
HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, who serves as chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), recently joined Biden-Harris Administration officials, Cabinet members and elected officials to launch “House America,” through which HUD and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) invite mayors, county leaders, Tribal nation leaders and governors to use the funds provided through the American Rescue Plan to address the crisis of homelessness. The initiative will have a Housing First approach, immediately re-housing and building additional housing for people experiencing homelessness.
“The pandemic has shown us that we, as a nation, are only as strong as the most vulnerable among us,” said Secretary Fudge in a statement. “Addressing homelessness is not only about helping the individuals and families who face the greatest housing challenges, but also about the well-being and economic security of our communities and our whole nation. It’s going to take government working at all levels to address homelessness and to guarantee housing as a right for every American. The Biden-Harris Administration looks forward to working alongside state and local partners on solutions that help to eradicate homelessness. By leveraging American Rescue Plan resources and other federal funds through a Housing First approach, we can ensure more people have a safe, stable place to call home.”
“House America” is the federal government’s direct response to the crisis of homelessness, which was rising even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to HUD. In March, HUD released its 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress, which found that more than 580,000 people experienced homelessness in the U.S. on a single night in January 2020, prior to the pandemic. COVID-19 has created greater urgency to address homelessness, given the heightened risks faced by people experiencing homelessness. At the same time, COVID-19 has slowed re-housing activities due to capacity issues and impacts on rental market vacancies.
The American Rescue Plan provides several housing resources, including 70,000 emergency housing vouchers, $5 billion in HOME grants, and investments to preserve and protect housing on tribal lands. The American Rescue Plan also provides $350 billion in state and local Fiscal Recovery Funds through the Department of the Treasury to support the many needs communities face, including homelessness and housing instability, related to the pandemic and its negative economic impacts.
“House America” will also provide assistance to access any resources remaining through the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and state and local resources to re-house people experiencing homelessness and create additional dedicated housing units to address homelessness.
“House America” has a goal of adding new units of affordable housing that address homelessness into the development pipeline by Dec. 31, 2022.
To learn more about “House America,” to join the initiative or for a list of “House America” participants, visit: www.hud.gov/house_america.