On April 8, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the allocation of $4.9 billion in new grants to state and local governments to create affordable housing and provide services to people experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness. The supplemental funding, provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), is being allocated through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program formula to 651 grantees including states, counties and city governments. Click here for a full list of grantees. Counties welcome these new HOME-ARP funds, which will help them to provide for the health and safety of their residents and keep individuals stably housed through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
According to HUD data, the number of people experiencing homelessness nationwide increased by two percent between 2019 and 2020, and this does not take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated the pre-existing housing and insecurity crisis. More than 8.8 million households are currently behind on rent, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and those at risk of homelessness are disproportionately people of color, primarily Black and Latino households. The funding allocated by HUD will help counties to address homelessness in their communities.
The HOME-ARP funds, which must be spent by 2030, give states and localities the flexibility to best meet the needs of their communities. The money can be used for a wide variety of projects, including the development of affordable housing, tenant-based rental assistance, supportive services and the acquisition and development of non-congregate shelter units.
Notably, HUD has also announced that it will be releasing allocations for the $5 billion in funding provided by ARP for emergency housing choice vouchers in the coming weeks.
NACo will continue to monitor federal action related to housing and homelessness assistance and foreclosure and eviction moratoriums. In addition, NACo has also created an Emergency Rental Assistance Resource Hub with the latest information on the federal rental assistance program allocations and guidance and a COVID-19 Recovery Clearinghouse where counties can request and find specific information regarding funding, vaccine distribution and more.