The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the allocation of nearly $5 billion homelessness assistance provided by the recent American Rescue Plan.

The supplemental funding is allocated through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to 651 grantees, including states, insular areas, and local governments. Click here for a full list.

Marcia Fudge
Marcia Fudge

Communities will be able to use the new funds in several ways, including build affordable and supportive housing, purchase motels that can be used initially as shelter and then converted to permanent housing, provide short-term rental assistance, and fund supportive services, according to officials.

“Let me be clear, these funds could not come at a more critical time,” said HUD secretary Marcia L. Fudge during a call with members of the press. “Homelessness in the United States was increasing even before COVID-19. On a single night in January of 2020, more than 580,000 people experienced homelessness in the United States. We know the pandemic has only made the crisis worse, so while Americans were told to stay safe by staying at home last year, more than half a million individuals and families had no way to do so because they did not have a home.”

Letters are expected to go out within the next week to the grantees, providing more information.

The latest funding is being allocated through a formula to state and local jurisdictions instead of Continuums of Care, which often handle programs related to homelessness. This was to get the funds out quickly to communities, according to Fudge, noting that the new funding is also different because it provides capital for affordable and supportive housing and it’s also not being awarded by competition.

With the various resources passed in the COVID relief package in December and the American Rescue Plan in March, officials estimate they can put into place as many as 30,000 housing units.

In addition to allocating the homelessness assistance funds, HUD will soon issue guidance on the $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers that were included in the American Rescue Plan.

Fudge was joined on the call with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and Birmingham, Alabama, mayor Randall Woodfin.

The new $5 billion in funding to address homelessness includes $200 million for state and local governments in Ohio, said Brown.

“We need to get the word out to cities and towns and counties and housing organizations that this funding is available,” he said.

While the funding provided under the American Rescue Plan is sizable, the administration’s new infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan, includes additionally needed resources, according to Brown.

“Housing is infrastructure,” he said. “Infrastructure is housing. We can help prevent homelessness and housing instability. We can build more and better housing. We can improve the housing we already have. We can put Americans to work on jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.”

The recently introduced infrastructure plan calls for investing $213 billion to produce, preserve, and retrofit more than 2 million affordable and low-income units.