The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge called on local leaders to join ‘House America‘, a HUD-led initiative to create more homes in America.
House America is a federal initiative in which HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) invite mayors, county leaders, Tribal nation leaders, and governors to partner and use funds provided through the American Rescue Plan to address 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 this crisis, which was rising even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release from HUD announcing the initiative’s next steps.
“When most Americans were told to stay safe from COVID-19 by staying home, more than 580,000 Americans could not do so because they had no home,” reads the department’s program fact sheet. “People experiencing homelessness have had to endure the pandemic in crowded settings where social distancing is impossible, or outside without access to hygiene facilities and other basic needs. No one should have to experience homelessness, let alone suffer a global pandemic, without the safety of a home.
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.