HUD Report on Youth Homelessness Underscores Importance of American Rescue Plan

homelessImage by L. Gesell

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently released a report on coordinated community approaches to preventing and ending youth homelessness. The report, “Evaluation of the HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program: Early Implementation Report,” underscores the importance of the American Rescue Plan to addressing homelessness, including for youth.

The report found that funding awarded by HUD to 10 Continuums of Care (CoCs) – state and local planning agencies that coordinate their area’s response to homelessness – enabled communities across the country to increase access to housing for youth experiencing homelessness through a variety of approaches, more directly integrating youth into systems with resources like rapid re-housing and programs using evidence-based models like Housing First.

“This report shows that when communities have dedicated funds, they are able to more effectively and aggressively expand efforts to deliver relief to youth and young adults experiencing homelessness,” said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia L. Fudge. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, communities will have access to billions in additional funds to further scale up initiatives to prevent and end homelessness, including for youth, and to put Housing First.”

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Access to permanent housing through tools like rapid re-housing is the cornerstone of the evidence-based Housing First approach to ending homelessness – an approach reflected in the recently-enacted American Rescue Plan. The ARP, signed into law on March 11 by President Biden, provides $5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to help create housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in communities across the country. The American Rescue Plan will also allow the communities highlighted in the Early Implementation Report to more fully implement their plans for a sustainable infrastructure for serving youth experiencing homelessness.

The $5 billion in HOME funding is the first of two homelessness-related funding opportunities from the American Rescue Plan that HUD will release. In the coming weeks, HUD will announce the allocation of funding for emergency vouchers for people experiencing and at-risk of homelessness.

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In 2016, HUD awarded funds to 10 Continuums of Care (CoCs) in round one of the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) to enable them to develop and implement coordinated community approaches to preventing and ending youth homelessness. The Early Implementation Report serves as an important baseline from which to evaluate changes and outcomes of the program when it concludes for these initial 10 participant CoCs. A final report is expected in fall 2021.

In the coming months, HUD will issue a Notice of Funding Opportunity that will make available $145 million to select up to 50 communities to participate in additional rounds of the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program to develop and execute a coordinated community approach to preventing and ending youth homelessness. Eight of the 50 selected communities must be rural communities.

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The release of the Early Implementation Report comes on the heels of HUD’s 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress. AHAR Part 1 found that homelessness was increasing even prior to COVID-19. The report also found that youth homelessness is slightly down (a 2.2 percent decrease) from 2019.

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