HUD, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced on January 26 that more than 140,000 people experiencing homelessness have been permanently housed using the Housing First approach, an evidence-based strategy that quickly connects people to homes and helps them access voluntary services, such as substance use treatment, peer support, and employment services.
Through “House America,” a national initiative to address the homelessness crisis, HUD and USICH helped 105 communities permanently house more than 100,000 households experiencing homelessness and add over 40,000 deeply affordable housing units to their development pipelines. Furthermore, the VA helped permanently house more than 40,000 veterans experiencing homelessness in 2022, exceeding by 6.3 percent the department’s goal of housing 38,000 veterans. The Biden administration’s efforts to end homelessness are rooted in the Housing First approach. Housing First is backed by decades of research and has garnered bipartisan support from Republican and Democratic administrations, policymakers, experts, and people with lived expertise.
Launched in September 2021, the House America initiative encouraged communities across the country to leverage the historic investments from the “American Rescue Plan Act” and the “CARES Act” – including emergency housing vouchers, funding for the construction of affordable housing, and additional state and local relief funds – to address the homelessness crisis through a Housing First approach. HUD and USICH engaged leaders from 105 communities across 31 states and territories and the District of Columbia to set and achieve specific goals to rehouse people experiencing homelessness and create more permanent affordable and supportive housing. The initiative challenged state and local leaders to collectively help at least 100,000 people exit homelessness into permanent housing and add at least 20,000 new deeply affordable and supportive housing units to their development pipelines by December 2022.
“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 Marcia L. Fudge. “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.”
“HUD’s House America initiative is a remarkable success, proving that a combination of leadership, a Housing First approach, and federal resources ends homelessness,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Homelessness is one of our country’s most urgent, tragic, and solvable crises. With the political will to fund solutions at the scale necessary, we could take House America to scale to fully invest in proven solutions and end homelessness in our country, once and for all.”
Throughout 2022, VA employed the Housing First approach to provide permanent housing and voluntary wraparound supportive services to more than 40,000 veterans experiencing homelessness. The number of veterans experiencing homelessness has decreased by 11% since January 2020, the biggest drop in veteran homelessness in more than five years. Overall, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness has declined by over 55% since 2010 (see Memo,11/07/2022). The VA attributes its progress on ending veteran homelessness to the Housing First approach, which is supported by the VA in its two largest homelessness programs: Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH). These programs, which are considered the gold standard for homelessness programs both domestically and abroad, have been instrumental in reducing veteran homelessness by 50% over the past decade.
“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.”
Read HUD’s press release at: https://bit.ly/3Djt2Ep
Read VA’s press release at: https://bit.ly/3HeHXAK
Read NLIHC’s statement on House America at: https://bit.ly/3HwpqkK
Learn more about Housing First at: https://bit.ly/3HAk34f