Mayor Scott Joins HUD’s House America Initiative to Address Homelessness in Baltimore

Baltimore’s Goal is to House 1000 Homeless Families and Add 1605 Units of Affordable Housing to the Development Pipeline by December 31, 2022

Mayor Brandon M. Scott has joined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) for House AmericaAn All-Hands-On-Deck Effort to Address the Nation’s Homelessness Crisis. Today, Mayor Scott, HUD Senior Advisor for Housing and Services Richard Cho, Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services (MOHS) Director Irene Agustin, and Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Commissioner Alice Kennedy announced the City’s goals for the House America initiative.

House America is a national partnership in which HUD and USICH invite mayors, county leaders, Tribal nation leaders, and governors to use the historic investments provided through the American Rescue Plan to address the crisis of homelessness through a Housing First approach by immediately rehousing and creating a pipeline to build additional housing for people experiencing homelessness.

House America leverages funding from the American Rescue Plan, federal, state, and local resources. Baltimore has set a goal to rehouse at least 1,000 households experiencing homelessness and add at least 1,605 new units of affordable housing, including 597 deeply affordable units, into the development pipeline during the 2022 calendar year. To date, the City has rehoused 454 households since January 2022.

“At the core of House America is collaboration and multiple City agencies have joined Federal partners to meet the needs of our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Nationwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the challenges that our neighbors face, including an adequate supply of housing for people exiting homelessness. Baltimore’s House America goals move forward the progress of the third pillar of my Action Plan – Clean & Healthy Communities – and we will reach the goals by using the data-driven approach to rehousing developed during the pandemic and including community stakeholders in the process.”  

House America is the federal government’s direct response to the crisis of homelessness, which was rising even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, HUD released its 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress, which found that more than 580,000 people experienced homelessness in the United States on a single night in January 2020, prior to the pandemic. In Baltimore, 2,193 people were identified as experiencing homelessness during the January 2020 HUD-mandated Point-In-Time (PIT) Count. COVID-19 has created greater urgency to address homelessness, given the heightened risks faced by people experiencing homelessness. Baltimore will release the findings from its February 2022 PIT Count this summer.

"Today's announcement is an important commitment to this City's residents, especially vulnerable Baltimoreans who need a place to call home, "said Matthew Heckles, HUD Region III Regional Administrator. "Housing hundreds of homeless families in the next few months not only will change their lives; it will improve the City's quality of life. HUD is here to assist in this effort, and I look forward to returning to celebrate the City of Baltimore’s accomplishments and show how it takes care of its residents in need."

Through the American Rescue Plan, communities now have historic resources — 70,000 emergency housing vouchers and $5 billion in HOME Investment Partnerships grants — to help more Americans obtain the safety of a stable home. In Baltimore, HUD awarded 278 Emergency Housing Vouchers, and $15.4 million in HUD Home Investment Partnerships Program funding, resources which can be used to achieve the House America goals. MOHS received an additional $75 million in ARPA funding to support priorities of its Strategic Investment Plan. Additionally, $100 million in ARPA funding was allocated to City agencies for several housing initiatives including those that create affordable housing.

To guide the strategic plan to help Baltimore achieve its House America goals, Mayor Scott has convened the City of Baltimore’s Leadership Committee on Homelessness and Housing. The committee includes homeless services and housing providers, philanthropy, city departments, people with lived experience of homelessness as well as representatives from hospitals, behavioral health, academia, and public safety.

“Housing is always the goal and Baltimore’s commitment to House America will help us end chronic homelessness,” said Irene Agustin, Director of MOHS. “The Federal resources will allow us to rehouse our neighbors more quickly and efficiently and the Committee on Homelessness and Housing will ensure that we do so in a way that meets the unique needs of our communities.”

“The bottom line is that we all want the same things for ourselves, and our families and housing is so foundational to overall success,” said Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy. “Our vision for justice in housing must also include a focus on racial equity for historically marginalized communities. We’ve begun the work here in Baltimore and we welcome this national partnership.”

To learn more about House America or to join the initiative, visit: House America | HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). For a list of House America participants, visit: House America: Partners | HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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