By Washington Informer
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced Monday the allocation of $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds for emergency housing vouchers for individuals and families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
In a virtual briefing with press members, Fudge noted that HUD allocated the supplemental funding through the Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) program.
Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and Oakland, California, Mayor Libby Schaaf also joined the call.
Through the program, HUD said it is providing 70,000 housing choice vouchers to local public housing authorities (PHAs) across the country to help Americans find and remain in housing.
HUD awarded the DC Housing Authority more than 700 vouchers.
The most recent Point-in-Time count, which outreach workers and volunteers conducted in January, shows 6,380 homeless individuals in The District this year.
That number is down 141 from the 6,251 individuals recorded in 2019.
Today, the District reportedlyseen its homeless population decreased by 24%, or 1,970, from a high of 8,350 in 2016.
“While most of us spent more time in our homes than we ever have, more than half a million Americans had to spend the last year either in crowded shelters or sleeping outside,” Fudge said.
“With HUD’s swift allocation of this $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funding, we are providing communities the resources to give homes to the people who have had to endure the COVID-19 pandemic without one. Congress now needs to pass the president’s American Jobs Plan. This once-in-a-generation investment would bring the United States closer to ending homelessness and housing instability.”
Price added that stable housing is a basic human need and the foundation upon which people build their lives.
Because of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, 1,296 Emergency Housing Vouchers are available for unhoused individuals and those facing housing instability Price’s state of North Carolina, he said.
“As chairman of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, I am proud to work alongside HUD to carry out the vital mission of ending homelessness through a Housing First approach to help build our country back better,” Price exclaimed.
The American Rescue Plan is working, bringing more than $400 million in rental assistance to Washington state and hundreds of millions more in homeowner and homelessness assistance — including the emergency housing vouchers we’re talking about today, Murray said.
“The legislation we sent to President Biden’s desk is making an important difference in people’s lives, especially for people of color who have felt the disproportionate impact of this crisis,” she said. “We’re making real progress to get our communities back to ‘normal’ — but that isn’t good enough when ‘normal’ wasn’t working for so many before the pandemic. We faced a housing crisis before the pandemic, and we need to keep working to pass the American Jobs Plan — to help our country build back stronger and fairer than before.”
The $5 billion in EHV-ARP funding gives communities the resources needed to help eligible households find and remain in housing. HUD estimates that these EHVs, alongside resources provided by the CARES Act, could help house 130,000 homes, HUD officials noted.
The $5 billion in EHV-ARP funding is the second of two homelessness-related funding opportunities from the American Rescue Plan that HUD released.
In April, HUD announced it would allocate $5 billion in ARP funds to increase affordable housing to address homelessness.
“The best way to address homelessness is to prevent it,” Johnson said. “And the American Rescue Plan Act emergency vouchers that the Biden administration is allocating today will provide a major boost to our efforts.”
The Biden-Harris administration gets it — housing is infrastructure, Schaaf said.
“Our homelessness crisis requires a bold, multi-faceted response, and today’s announcement that Oakland will receive more than 500 emergency housing vouchers for our most vulnerable residents will have an immediate impact on our community,” she said. “I’m proud to work with Secretary Fudge and the administration to end the humanitarian crisis of homelessness in our country.”