HUD and USICH Announce 100th Community to Join “House America”

Today, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge announced Santa Clara County, California, as the 100th community to join the Biden-Harris administration’s House America initiative to address homelessness. 

The 100 House America communities represent 31 states and 50% of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S., according to HUD’s 2020 Point-in-Time Count.

“Today, we are marking a major milestone for our House America initiative,” said Secretary Fudge. “Like many of the communities that have joined House America, Santa Clara County is committed to taking a Housing First approach to solving homelessness through affordable housing solutions and supportive services. We cannot continue to sweep and move encampments from one area to another or from one city to another and think we are solving the problem. Solving homelessness means recognizing and confronting the injustices that have led people—especially Black, brown, indigenous, and other people of color—to their tragic circumstances. Solving homelessness requires focus and the investment of time and resources. The elected officials across state and local government who have taken our House America pledge know it will take a robust, all-hands-on-deck effort to solve this crisis. Santa Clara County exemplifies what an all-hands-on deck effort looks like.” 

HUD and USICH launched House America in September 2021 to partner with mayors, governors, tribal and other local leaders to help communities make the most of historic federal resources like the American Rescue Plan, which represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address the nation's homelessness crisis. By the end of 2022, House America aims to find permanent homes for at least 100,000 experiencing homelessness and to start developing at least 20,000 new units of affordable housing—goals that the country is on track to meet.

House America communities have made meaningful progress. Highlights include:

  1. Issuance of more than 95% of the 22,000 emergency housing vouchers allocated to them
  2. Commitment of at least $400 million in emergency solutions grants from the CARES Act (ESG-CV) to rapid rehousing
  3. Locally-set goals to collectively rehouse more than 57,000 and add more than 44,000 units of affordable housing to the development pipeline (HUD continues to work with communities that have recently joined House America to set their goals.

Today’s announcement came on the heels of a first-of-its-kind funding opportunity from HUD. The Initiative for Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness, announced late last month, will help communities humanely and effectively implement coordinated approaches for solving unsheltered homelessness with housing, health care, and supportive services. The $365 million package includes:

  1. $322 million in Continuum of Care (CoC) Program grants, with $54.5 million set aside specifically for rural communities
  2. $43 million for approximately 4,000 new Housing Choice Vouchers

USICH recently published new guidance that help communities as they apply for this new funding. It’s called “7 Principles for Addressing Encampments” and was developed in collaboration with HUD and other federal agencies as well as national partners.

House America embodies the collaboration it takes to end homelessness,” said USICH Executive Director Jeff Olivet. “Together, we can end the constant state of suffering that millions of Americans without a home are living in and build a country where everyone has a safe, stable, and affordable place to home.”

Read the full House America announcement.

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