|HUD No. 21-152
HUD Public Affairs
September 20, 2021
Biden-Harris Administration Launches House America Initiative to Address Homelessness Crisis
House America leverages American Rescue Plan and other federal resources to immediately re-house and build additional housing for people experiencing homelessness
WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, who serves as chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), today joined Biden-Harris Administration officials, Cabinet members, and elected officials to launch House America: An All-Hands-On-Deck Effort to Address the Nation’s Homelessness Crisis. House America is a national partnership in which HUD and USICH invite mayors, county leaders, Tribal nation leaders, and governors to use the historic investments provided through the American Rescue Plan to address the crisis of homelessness through a Housing First approach by 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. “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. 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 United States 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.
Through the American Rescue Plan, communities now have historic housing resources - 70,000 emergency housing vouchers, $5 billion in HOME grants, and significant investments to preserve and protect housing on tribal lands - to help more Americans obtain the safety of a stable home. 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, as they respond to the pandemic and its negative economic impacts.
Communities also have 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 provides communities with the focus, resolve, and technical know-how needed to deploy these resources to maximize impact.
House America calls on state, tribal, and local leaders to partner with HUD to use American Rescue Plan resources, alongside other federal, tribal, state, and local resources to set and achieve ambitious goals to re-house households experiencing homelessness through a Housing First approach, and to add new units of affordable housing that address homelessness into the development pipeline by December 31, 2022. Within those national goals, communities will set and achieve local re-housing and unit creation goals.
Secretary Fudge launched House America during a virtual event, which included panel discussions on re-housing and unit creation. Secretary Fudge was joined at the virtual launch by:
- Secretary Denis McDonough, Veterans Affairs
- Gene Sperling, Special Advisor to the President and American Rescue Plan Coordinator
- Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland, California
- Mayor John Giles, Mesa, Arizona
- Governor Janet Mills, Maine
- Governor Gavin Newsom, California
- HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman
- Mayor Todd Gloria, San Diego, California
- Mayor Jim Kenney, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Mayor Randall Woodfin, Birmingham, Alabama
- Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade, Florida
- Treasury Deputy Secretary Adewale Adeyemo
- Mayor Steve Adler, Austin, Texas
- Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City, Missouri
- Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Los Angeles County, California
- Interim Executive Director Anthony Love, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
To learn more about House America, to join the initiative, or for a list of House America participants, visit: www.hud.gov/house_america.