May 18 (UPI) — The White House on Thursday announced a program aiming to address homelessness in five major cities across the country.
The ALL INside initiative is a key part of the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness — enacted under the American Rescue Plan — that seeks to reduce vagrancy across the nation by 25% through 2025 and “ultimately build a country where every person has a safe and affordable home,” the White House said in a statement.
The effort will be led by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and its 19 federal agencies, who will work with state and local governments to tackle the problem in major cities like Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Seattle, Los Angeles and other points throughout California.
The plan calls for increased federal support to these communities for up to two years, while an administration official will be stationed in each region to ensure optimal strategies are developed and carried out.
Other government teams will be responsible for curating the action plan across all the federal agencies to identify sources for funding and to create advocacy programs in the select cities.
President Joe Biden‘s American Rescue Plan made the government’s largest-ever single-year investment to prevent a surge of homelessness during the height of the pandemic, with $5 billion invested so far for 70,000 Emergency Housing Vouchers — the first HUD voucher specifically for people experiencing homelessness beyond veterans, the White House said.
Another $21 billion from Biden’s plan has gone to emergency rental assistance, and measures to establish eviction protections that have helped 8 million struggling households pay their bills.
Since 2021, the Treasury Department’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund has also provided more than $2.5 billion in projects focused on reducing and preventing homelessness.
During its first year alone, the Rescue Plan helped more than 100,000 homeless people obtain permanent homes, the White House said.
Earlier this year, HUD released a package of grants totaling $486 million and approximately 3,300 housing vouchers to help 62 communities address homelessness and homeless encampments, including $60 million to Chicago, $22 million to Dallas, $60 million to Los Angeles, and $36 million to other communities across the state of California, the White House said.
The administration is now calling on private sector donors to support the latest actions on homelessness while seeking ways to continue the government’s collaboration in the years ahead.
As part of the mission, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Social Security Administration are working together to address barriers to housing, healthcare, and other critical support for those with no place to call home.
One aspect of the plan will help homeless people obtain IDs and other critical government documents.
Housing vouchers and rental assistance are planned as part of a broad array of support services that also includes employment opportunities for homeless teens.
The departments of Energy, Justice, Agriculture and Transportation and Treasury have signed onto the effort along with the General Services Administration and AmeriCorps.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is working to leverage federal programs like Medicaid to cover and provide housing-related supportive services and behavioral health care, the White House said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency was also preparing to update its operational protocols to ensure greater coordination to assist the homeless in the event of a disaster.