Housing Assistance Council Statement on Proposed $54.5 Million Set Aside for Homelessness in Rural Communities
The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) applauds the new funding package announced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on June 22, 2022 to provide people experiencing homelessness in the nation’s cities and rural communities with the support they need. In total, HUD’s initiative includes $322 million targeted to addressing unsheltered and rural homelessness. Of this, $54.5 million is set aside for rural communities to help connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to housing, healthcare and supportive services.
“This is a remarkable investment in terms of its size, targeting and design,” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “HUD recognizes that homelessness looks different in rural places than in large cities, and is customizing this initiative to address the unique capacity challenges that rural Continuums of Care face.” In particular, rural communities can apply for capacity-building support—which is not an eligible activity under the annual Continuum of Care competition or the unsheltered homelessness set aside. Funds can also support home repairs, outreach, supportive services and more. By specifically targeting rural communities that have historically not had access to HUD homeless assistance grants, this special funding announcement goes a long way toward ensuring an equitable approach for underserved communities.
HUD’s announcement reflects HAC’s longstanding efforts to educate policymakers on the unique needs of rural communities seeking to address homelessness. “HAC played an essential role informing the drafting and early implementation of the HEARTH Act of 2009, which overhauled HUD’s homeless assistance programs for the first time in two decades,” said Jonathan Harwitz, HAC’s Director of Public Policy, who worked on the HEARTH Act as a Congressional staffer and at HUD. “It is gratifying that HUD’s special funding announcement today reflects HAC’s feedback on HEARTH Act implementation over the past decade.”