Federal Funding for Homelessness Programs

Congress should invest in proven solutions to homelessness by providing at least $3.1 billion for Homeless Assistance in FY 2021. This represents a $323 million increase over the FY 20 level, and would allow homelessness to keep up with rising evictions. 

Homelessness affects more than half a million Americans on any given night. HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program is at the core of federal efforts to end this crisis.

Consider the results: Since 2007, homelessness has decreased by 15 percent. Meanwhile, communities and even states across the country have announced that they have ended veteran and chronic homelessness. That progress is only possible through bipartisan Congressional investments in this program.

Each year, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards Homeless Assistance Grants to communities that administer housing and services at the local level. Specifically, the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program and the Continuum of Care (CoC) program fund the cornerstones of each community’s homeless system. The ESG grant funds street outreach, homelessness prevention and diversion, emergency shelter, and rapid re-housing. The CoC program funds permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, transitional housing, coordinated entry, and pilots like the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program.

Because HUD prioritizes evidence-based programs and practices as part of the grants program, homeless assistance systems across the country have improved their ability to quickly respond to housing crises, get people back into housing, and connect them with community-based services.

Current Status

HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program received $2.777 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2020. “Dear Colleague” sign-on letters will soon be circulated in the House and Senate, seeking support for an increase to $3.1 billion.

The Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate will soon begin crafting bills for this and other spending accounts for FY 2021.

Download the proposed FY2021 budget>>>

Fiscal Year 2021 Federal Homeless Programs Budget Chart (in Millions)

The Alliance publishes a detailed breakdown of the current FY 2021 proposed funding levels. Last updated February 11, 2020.

View Table

Targeted funding within the grant programs indicated in italics.

HUD Programs Enacted FY 2019 Enacted FY 2020 President Proposed FY 2021
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants Program 2,636 2,777 2,773
Rapid Re-Housing for Youth Demonstrations 80 80 0
Rapid Re-Housing for Survivors of Domestic Violence 50 50 0
HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program (New Vouchers) 40 40 0
Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (Section 8 Vouchers) 22,598 23,874 23,345
Project-Based Rental Assistance 11,747 12,570 12,642
Community Development Block Grant Program 3,365 3,425 0
USICH 3.6 3.8 3.8
HHS Programs Enacted FY 2019 Enacted FY 2020 President Proposed FY 2021
Health Care for the Homeless 141 141 138
Runaway and Homeless Youth Act 127 132 132
Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) 64.6 64.6 64.6
SAMHSA Homeless Grants 69 69 69
Domestic Violence Hotline 10 12 12
Family Violence and Prevention Services 164 175 175
Public Health - - 10
VA Programs Enacted FY 2019 Enacted FY 2020 President Proposed FY 2021
Veterans Homelessness Programs 1,750 1,807 1,889
Supportive Services for Veteran Families 380 380 387
Grant and Per Diem Program 257 250 265
HUD-VASH Case Management 585 600 637
Other Programs Enacted FY 2019 Enacted FY 2020 President Proposed FY2021
Education for Homeless Children and Youth (ED) 93.5 101.5 0
Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (Dept. of Labor) 50 55 55

[i] The President’s budget includes $10 million in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund that can be used to supplement other departmental funding to assist or serve individuals who are homeless or have experienced homelessness.

[ii] The President’s budget proposes a new U.S. Department of Education block grant program through which disadvantaged students, including those experiencing homelessness, would receive assistance.