Statement on Newly Released Federal Grants to Address Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness applauds the release of $315 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help communities address the crises of unsheltered and rural homelessness. The grants were awarded last week to 46 cities and localities in 30 states.

The grants come on the heels of a recent announcements by HUD, which reported that more than 100,000 households were rehoused and 40,000 units of affordable housing had been put into production in 2022 as part of the Biden Administration’s “House America” initiative. The same week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it has exceeded its own goals by rehousing more than 40,000 veterans last year.

“These results show that when our communities have the leadership, the funds, and the best practices, they can end homelessness for people in their communities. That’s further proven by recently reported declines in family, youth, and veteran homelessness,” said Ann Oliva, CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “Unfortunately, unsheltered and rural homelessness have not seen the same progress. These new federal resources show that the federal government recognizes the scope of need and is targeting resources where they can be put to the best use.”

Oliva noted that recent declines were largely driven by programs rooted in the Housing First approach. Housing First is grounded in the understanding that the fastest and most effective way to end a person’s homelessness is to first connect them to permanent housing, and to then connect them with the supportive services they may need, including treatment for mental health and addiction. She expressed encouragement that these grants will offer communities a basis for addressing unsheltered and rural homelessness efficiently and responsibly, rather than relying on shortcuts or political quick fixes.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of communities looking towards encampment sweeps, carceral approaches, and forced involuntary treatment. These approaches harm people experiencing homelessness, disproportionately target people of color, and ultimately do nothing to end a community’s homelessness crisis,” she said. “These are essential funds that offer a more just and effective pathway. The Alliance congratulates the awarded communities and offers its gratitude to HUD for these essential funds.”