Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a first-of-its-kind package of resources for unsheltered homelessness and homeless encampments.
The Initiative for Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness 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:
$322 million in Continuum of Care (CoC) Program grants, with $54.5 million set aside specifically for rural communities, through a Special Notice of Funding Opportunity to fund homeless outreach, permanent housing, supportive services, and other costs. The grants will fund projects for three years then will be eligible for renewal through the annual CoC Program.
$43 million for approximately 4,000 new Housing Choice Vouchers that will be allocated through a separate notice to public housing authorities. The vouchers can serve people who are:
- experiencing or at risk of homelessness
- fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking
- Veterans and their families if they meet one of the proceeding criteria
This funding opportunity strongly promotes partnerships with health care organizations, public housing authorities and mainstream housing providers, and people with lived experience of homelessness.
The number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness has been rising. In 2020, for the first time ever, more people were experiencing homelessness on the streets and in cars than in shelters, according to HUD's annual Point-in-Time Count.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that people sleeping in their vehicles, in tents, or on the streets, including in rural areas, have access to decent, stable housing and services, like health care and treatment, to live with dignity and safety,” said HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, who also serves as the chair of USICH. “Solving unsheltered homelessness means delivering help to the people who need it the most, but who have the hardest time reaching it. It means putting Housing First and health care and other supportive services right after. With this funding, communities will have the resources to scale up coordinated efforts to humanely and effectively move people from encampments into homes by linking homeless outreach with health care, treatment, and housing.”
For more on this topic, read the following new guidance from USICH and HUD: