Making Progress on Homelessness, Thanks to Federal Initiatives

Homelessness is always bad news. Even one person experiencing homelessness is too many. But as we work to end it, it’s important to call out the good things that are happening – for encouragement, advancing know-how, and making sure funders (including government) understand that their money will get results.

So these past few weeks, it was good to see two announcements indicating that homelessness systems in many communities worked to move tens of thousands of Americans from homelessness into housing throughout 2022. Here’s what was accomplished, and what these milestones mean.

HUD and VA Successes

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that HUD-funded homeless service providers had met the goal set out in HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge’s House America initiative: they moved more than 100,000 households from homelessness into permanent housing, while also beginning development on more than 40,000 affordable housing units. HUD made sure communities knew how to access and use the resources provided by Congress from COVID-related emergency funding, and implement effective practices like permanent supportive housing, Rapid Re-Housing, and homelessness diversion. A story map showing what the 105 local governments that participated in House America did to achieve this goal can be found here. HUD also has a fact sheet from last September, summarizing what communities were doing a year into the initiative.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced more than 40,000 veterans moved from homelessness into housing in 2022, exceeding VA’s goal by 6.3 percent. VA’s announcement stated that 1,301 of these housing placements were in Los Angeles, a city with a notoriously expensive housing market.

Making It Happen

Both of these accomplishments back up the fact that homeless service systems are doing great work in the face of huge challenges. The Alliance is glad to see this work highlighted and is grateful to everyone working in this field to make it happen.

Even in places where homelessness is increasing, people are still being housed, despite the optics: for every homeless person housed through this great work, more people are losing their housing and falling into homelessness. The Alliance will be working with other national partners this year to bring a new focus to preventing people from becoming homeless. There is a growing awareness of this need at the federal level, and the Alliance hopes to work with everyone in the field to bring more attention to it on the part of our elected officials in the year ahead.