Biden administration launches new national initiative to fight homelessness

Greg Nash

The Biden administration on Monday launched a new national initiative to fight homelessness, which will work with local governments to help those suffering from the national housing crisis.

The initiative, dubbed “House America,” will call on city, county, state and tribal government leaders throughout the country to publicly vow to decrease homelessness in their areas.

The federal government will then provide guidance and support to help local jurisdictions supply permanent housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and construct new affordable housing options for people who are struggling, according to Bloomberg.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, at an event announcing the initiative on Monday, said the goal of the program is to move people experiencing homelessness into permanent stable homes, provide them with rental assistance and access to virtual services, and increase the amount of affordable and supporting housing that exists to help people who are experiencing homelessness.

The initiative will use money allocated by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, according to Fudge, which was signed into law in March.

She noted that the plan gave 70,000 emergency housing vouchers to support the program and $5 billion to establish affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness.

She said the Treasury Department is also urging communities to support the program using the $350 billion in state and local relief funding that was allocated in Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Fudge called the new program a “historic new partnership.”

“Today we are launching an initiative called House America. It is an all-hands-on-deck effort to address our homelessness crisis,” Fudge said at a virtual event announcing the program.

“House America brings together leaders from across the federal government and from communities in every corner of our country to forge a historic new partnership. Our initiative will empower state, local and tribal leaders to put our nation on the path toward ending homelessness using the unprecedented investments provided in the president’s American Rescue Plan,” she added.

Two dozen tribal, state and local leaders have already joined the initiative, according to Fudge, including Oakland, Calif., Mayor Libby Schaaf (D), Mesa, Ariz., Mayor John Giles (R), Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

The administration’s new initiative comes after the Supreme Court last month blocked an eviction freeze enacted by the Biden administration to protect struggling tenants from being forced out of their homes amid the pandemic.

The court ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium was unlawful, dealing a blow to the administration and Democrats.

It handed a win to a landlord group that was pushing since last fall to block the federal eviction suspension, which cost property owners around $19 billion every month.

Tags Gavin Newsom Janet Mills Joe Biden Marcia Fudge

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