The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is allocating $48.9 billion in funding and $11.3 billion in new mandatory spending over the next decade to focus on ending homelessness and helping more Americans move into affordable housing.
HUD says it’s extending its former pledge to have the “first-ever federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.” HUD is expanding the availability of a rapid rehousing program and Housing Choice Vouchers to help more families move out of homelessness more quickly and into permanent housing.
Since first targeting homelessness six years ago with its Open Doors Plan program, HUD says family homelessness has been reduced by 19 percent throughout the country.
But HUD says it still has a lot more work to do. In January, an annual one-night count of homelessness nationwide, found more than 64,000 families still did not have homes – that includes more than 123,000 children.
A rental affordability crisis brewing across major cities nationwide is leading to an increase in homelessness.
Former HUD Secretary Shawn Donovan had called for a “home first” strategy to homelessness, believing that having a permanent shelter will make it easier for the homeless to obtain social, education, employment, and health services.
HUD’s 10-year program sets out to provide more than a half million families with assistance and help communities to end family homelessness by 2020.
In its latest budget allocation, HUD says $10.8 billion will go for a project-based rental assistance program that will support one-year of funding for rental assistance contracts with public and private owners who maintain affordable rental housing for 1.2 million families. Also, $6.45 billion will go to the operating and capital subsidies to preserve affordable public housing for 1.1 million families. The latest funds will also allow for 10,000 new housing vouchers for families with children.
“HUD’s proposed budget was built on the values that we uphold as Americans. That our entire nation benefits when our children grow up in a community that’s full of promise, not problems,” says HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “When a hard-working family is able to responsibly buy their first-home, put down roots, and build wealth. When homeless veterans are able to get the housing they need to succeed in the very nation they risked so much to protect. When every person gets a fair shot and a fair shake to achieve their dreams.”