MReport October 2021

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58 | TH E M R EP O RT O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST GOVERNMENT HUD Officials Rally Local Leaders to Join Housing Initiative The House America program provides departmental support including technical assistance, communications, and peer-to-peer learning to participating municipalities. T he Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge called on local leaders to join a HUD-led initiative to create more homes in America. House America is a federal initiative in which HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) invite mayors, county leaders, tribal nation leaders, and governors to partner and use funds provided through the American Rescue Plan to address homelessness. House America is the federal government's direct response to this crisis, which was rising even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release from HUD announcing the initiative's next steps. "When most Americans were told to stay safe from COVID-19 by staying home, more than 580,000 Americans could not do so because they had no home," reads the department's program fact sheet. "People experiencing homelessness have had to endure the pandemic in crowded settings where social distancing is impos- sible, or outside without access to hygiene facilities and other basic needs. No one should have to experience homelessness, let alone suffer a global pandemic, without the safety of a home." The American Rescue Plan, according to HUD, has added 70,000 emergency housing vouch- ers, $5 billion in HOME grants, and significant investments to preserve and protect housing on tribal lands and provides $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds through the Department of the Treasury to combat homelessness and housing instability. Using funds from the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and other state, tribal, and local initiatives, municipalities have resources to re-house people and create additional dedicated hous- ing units, according to HUD. Secretary Fudge has called on state, tribal, and local lead- ers to partner with HUD to use American Rescue Plan resources, alongside other federal, tribal, state, and local resources to set and achieve ambitious goals to re-house families and to add new units of affordable housing (unit creation) into the development pipeline by December 31, 2022. These leaders can join the initiative by passing a proclama- tion or issuing a letter, setting their goals, building their team, and managing to the achievement of their goals, Fudge said, adding that they will have the support of HUD and other agencies through tools, technical assistance, direct regular communication, data sup- port, and peer-to-peer learning. "House America provides com- munities with the focus, resolve, and technical know-how needed to deploy these resources to max- imize impact," HUD reported. "Collectively, we will troubleshoot challenges, track our progress, and recognize our achievements in housing our most vulnerable neighbors." At a hearing last month, Fudge said the President's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022 requests $68.7 billion for HUD. "This represents an increase of $9 billion—or 15%—from our enacted funding from the previous fiscal year," Fudge said. In April, President Biden requested his fiscal year 2022 discretionary funding budget, which set aside $68 billion-plus for HUD and programs dedicated to the nation's equitable hous- ing designed to reduce the racial wealth gap. "When most Americans were told to stay safe from COVID-19 by staying home, more than 580,000 Americans could not do so because they had no home."

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