After two years of unprecedented federal investment, the Biden-Harris administration halted the rapid rise in homelessness that started in 2016, and today, it is announcing two major milestones toward ending homelessness in the United States.
Through the House America initiative, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) helped 105 communities move more than 100,000 households of people out of shelters, off the streets, and into permanent housing as well as add more than 40,000 affordable homes into development. Similarly, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) helped 40,401 veterans get out of homelessness, exceeding its goal to permanently house 38,000 in 2022.
Ending homelessness is a top priority of the Biden-Harris administration . USICH released All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in December, which aims to reduce homelessness 25% by 2025. President Biden encourages state and local governments to set their own ambitious goals for 2025.
The goal of House America, which was launched by HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge in 2021, was to help the 105 states, municipalities, and tribes that joined make the most of the American Rescue Plan and other unprecedented federal funding to permanently house at least 100,000 households of people and add at least 20,000 affordable homes into development—goals that were exceeded. The American Rescue Plan included $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers that are leasing faster than any previous HUD voucher program and another $5 billion for HOME-ARP that can fund services, rental assistance, and new housing. The House America communities received 20,000 emergency housing vouchers and more than $1.5 billion HOME-ARP from HUD, as well as $65 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds from the Department of Treasury.
“Everyone deserves a safe, stable place to call home. Through House America , I’m proud to see that communities have stepped up to get people off the streets and into homes,” said HUD Secretary Fudge, who served as chair of USICH during the development of All In. “The Biden-Harris administration is deploying a ‘Housing First’ approach, using American Rescue Plan funding and other resources to help individuals find a place to call home. We will continue to work to house America until we end homelessness as we know it.”
“More than 40,000 formerly homeless veterans are going to sleep tonight in good, safe, stable homes—and there’s nothing more important than that,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough, who serves as chair of USICH . “This is great progress, but it’s just the beginning: We at VA will not rest until the phrase ‘homeless veteran’ is a thing of the past.”
After years of rapid rises in homelessness, overall homelessness remained flat and veteran homelessness dropped during the pandemic. Since 2020, veteran homelessness has dropped 11% (55% since 2010), according to the 2022 Point-in-Time Count.
“These recent achievements show that communities can make progress even under the most difficult circumstances,” said USICH Executive Director Jeff Olivet. “While we have a long way to go to end the life-and-death crisis of homelessness in this country, the work communities have done to house more than 100,000 people is a great start, and the All In plan will build upon this progress.”
This month, Biden-Harris administration officials—including USICH Director Olivet— participated in 2023 Point-in-Time Counts throughout the country to collect data on people experiencing homelessness to better understand local needs, to measure trends in homelessness, to hear from communities, and to more accurately target funding and resources.
In the coming months, USICH and the White House will announce the details of a new initiative to help cities and states reduce unsheltered homelessness. The 19 federal agencies that make up USICH will work with select state and local governments to accelerate the implementation and effectiveness of All In ’s strategies to get people off the streets and into homes.