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HUD, City Leaders Discuss $5B to Further Housing Security

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a couple of weeks ago that it will allocate about $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to deliver near-term relief to people experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness.

HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge Friday held a conference call—to discuss ways those funds can create affordable housing and services across the country—with House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

She conducted a similar call earlier this month with senators and leaders from other areas.

Fudge said she and other leaders cannot stand by when a single person in this nation, let alone half a million, lacks a safe home.

“While this $5 billion in homelessness assistance in the American Rescue Plan will deliver near-term relief to people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness during the pandemic," Fudge said, "the President’s once-in-a-generation American Jobs Plan would build on this relief with additional robust funding for the affordable housing needing to bring the United States closer to ending homelessness and housing instability."

Waters congratulated Fudge and President Joe Biden and his administration for what she called "outstanding work to deliver essential relief to individuals, families, and communities during the pandemic crisis" and noted that the investment in housing infrastructure outlined in Biden's jobs plan is significant.

The Coloradoan governor said that his state has endured a tremendous amount of hardship in the past year. "It's critical," Polis said, "that everyone in our state and nation has the opportunity to call a place home."

“These funds from the American Rescue Plan will offer direct, immediate results and pave the way for long-term solutions to end homelessness," he added.

Mayor Garcetti said the newly allocated dollars have "opened the door to a tectonic shift in our ability to bring our unhoused neighbors indoors."

He says his city, Los Angeles, will add nearly $100 million to its local efforts to bring more shelters, permanent housing, and critical services online.

"This [will] enable us to dedicate a record-setting $1 billion toward the fight to confront and end homelessness in Los Angeles.”

Seattle's Mayor Durkan says the American Rescue Plan will support cities that have served as safety nets for the country's most vulnerable communities.

"Over the several meetings with HUD, Secretary Fudge’s commitment to Seattle and addressing homelessness, especially chronic homelessness, is clear and unwavering. Her leadership will help address our communities' most immediate needs over the coming months,” Durkan said. “In Seattle, recently we have taken some important steps, capitalizing on the downturn in the real estate market to add more affordable housing for our neighbors experiencing homelessness. For our longer-term recovery, we have the opportunity with the American Rescue Plan ...to scale up innovative investments to shelter and house even more, more quickly than ever before.”

Breed added that he and the other leaders— if they have any hope of tackling their cities' complex housing challenges— "need real and substantial federal leadership."

And the San Francisco mayor says that is what he feels he is receiving now from HUD and the administration.

“While it’s critical we invest in long-term solutions like permanent housing, we also need to find creative interim housing solutions to keep people safe," Breed said. "I appreciate Secretary Fudge’s understanding of these challenges and the willingness of HUD to provide the flexibility and resources we need to respond to the crisis of unsheltered homelessness.”

Earlier this year HUD released its 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress. The report found that 580,466 people experienced homelessness in the United States on a single night in 2020, an increase of 12,751 people, or 2.2%, from 2019.

At the time, Fudge called the results of the study "startling."

The $4.925 billion in HOME-ARP funding gives states the flexibility to best meet the needs of people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness, including through development of affordable housing, tenant-based rental assistance, supportive services, and acquisition and development of non-congregate shelter units, according to a HUD press release.

Funds must be spent by 2030, HUD announced.

The American Jobs Plan, introduced on March 31, 2021, calls for a more than $200 billion investment in infrastructure, a large portion to increase housing supply and address the affordable housing crisis.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others.
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