Federal Funding for Homelessness Programs

Congress should invest in proven solutions to homelessness by providing at least $3 billion for Homeless Assistance in FY 2020. This represents a $364 million increase over the FY 19 level, and would end homelessness for 70,000 additional households.

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 $2.636 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2019. “Dear College” sign-on letters have already circulated in the House and Senate, attracting support for an increase to $3 billion from 171 House Members and 39 Senators.

The Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate are beginning to put their bills together, while waiting for an agreement between the two chambers on overall spending limits for FY 2020.

Fiscal Year 2020 Federal Homeless Programs Budget Chart (in Millions)

The Alliance publishes a detailed breakdown of the current FY 2020 proposed funding levels. Last updated November 5, 2019.

View Table
HUD Programs Enacted FY 2019 House Proposed FY 2020 Senate Proposed FY 2020 Enacted FY 2020
Homeless Assistance Grants 2,636 2,800 2,760 n/a
Rapid Re-Housing for Youth Demonstrations 80 100 80 n/a
Rapid Re-Housing for Survivors of Domestic Violence 50 50 40 n/a
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) 3.60 4.1 3.60 n/a
HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program (New Vouchers) 40 40 40 n/a
Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (Section 8 Vouchers) 22,598 23,800 23,800 n/a
Project-Based Rental Assistance 11,747 12,590 12,560 n/a
Community Development Block Grant Program 3,365 3,600 3,325 n/a
HHS Programs Enacted FY 2019 House Proposed FY 2020 Senate Proposed FY 2020 Enacted FY 2020
Health Care for the Homeless 136 145.8 n/a n/a
Runaway and Homeless Youth Act 127 147.4 n/a n/a
Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) 65 66.6 n/a n/a
SAMHSA Homeless Grants 69 71.4 n/a n/a
VA Programs Enacted FY 2019 House Proposed FY 2020 Senate Proposed FY 2020 Enacted FY 2020
Veterans Homelessness Programs 1,819 1,858 n/a n/a
Supportive Services for Veteran Families 380 380 n/a n/a
Grant and Per Diem Program 257 257 n/a n/a
Other Programs Enacted FY 2019 House Proposed FY 2020 Senate Proposed FY 2020 Enacted FY 2020
Education for Homeless Children and Youth (ED) 93.5 100 n/a n/a
Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (Dept. of Labor) 50 60 n/a n/a

Targeted funding within the grant programs indicated in italics.