Federal programs aimed at rapid re-housing, homelessness prevention stemmed homelessness despite struggling economy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 16, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported a 2.1 percent decline in the number of people experiencing homelessness on a given night in January 2011. The number of homeless people, based on counts conducted by localities and states across the nation (called Point-In-Time [PIT] counts), decreased from 649,917 to 636,017. Among the other notable findings presented in the PIT report was a 12 percent decrease among veterans experiencing homelessness between 2010 and 2011.
“The fact that homelessness overall did not increase in 2010 — despite rising unemployment, growing deep poverty, and increasing housing costs — is attributable to one thing: an infusion of federal funds specifically designed to prevent it, “ said Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness (Alliance). “The $1.5 billion Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), funded via the stimulus, succeeded in helping people stay in their homes. The slight decrease in homelessness demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach. Tragically, the program is drawing to a close. It is to be hoped that an increase in homelessness will not follow.”
HPRP is credited with preventing or ending homelessness for one million Americas, according to the HUD. The program ends in 2012. Facing severe budget cuts at the federal, state, and local levels, homeless assistance programs will likely have fewer resources moving forward to prevent and end homelessness for people still in need of assistance.
“The success in 2010 is the result of focusing on smart, efficient solutions to homelessness,” said Roman, “and we can see how this strategy produces results. But results like these require commitment. With continued investment in housing-focused policies, we can end homelessness for all Americans.”
Other federal programs that provide permanent housing and supportive services to homeless people and families include the HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program which has housed nearly 34,000 homeless veterans to date and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants which allocates $1.9 billion to homeless assistance programs.