This analysis of HUD’s budgeting to end homelessness was prepared by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The reminder that we have not yet matched the level of HUD funding of a dozen years ago is a wake up call to action. It also underscores the fact that without increased funding by the Federal government, improved coordination and targeting of state funds and the creation of County-based Homeless Trust Funds, the ability to end homelessness is doomed to fail.
A new National Alliance to End Homelessness analysis of HUD’s homeless assistance funding finds that $1.8 billion in funding would be needed in fiscal year 2008 to get back on track toward meeting the Administration’s goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2012, while also beginning an initiative to rapidly rehouse homeless families. Produced by the Alliance, the document describes the history of homelessness funding with comparisons to overall federal spending, the benefits of permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing programs, and the funding levels and policies needed for the McKinney program.
In Fiscal Year 1995, when HUD first reorganized its homeless assistance programs into the Continuum of Care, Congress provided $1.72 billion (in constant 2008 dollars). The following year, a new Congress slashed funding by 28 percent to $1.23 billion. Funding steadily rose, reaching $1.54 billion in 2003 and has fluctuated for the past few years. Providing $1.8 billion would for the first time bring funding levels above their 1995 level and allow communities to achieve the following:
Fund all expiring permanent housing renewals, which by themselves will increase by $65 million between 2007 and 2008.
Provide $25 million to communities to set up cost-effective programs to help homeless families move into permanent housing. Over the past several years, communities that have adopted rapid rehousing programs have shown impressive success at reducing the number of homeless families.
Fund 15,000 new units of permanent supportive housing, helping put communities on track to create the 150,000 units needed to end chronic homelessness. The latest round of Continuum of Care funding resulted in the lowest level of new permanent housing units since Congress began focusing on permanent housing.