Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis on Monday announced that the City has joined the House America: An All-Hands-On-Deck Effort to Address the Nation’s Homelessness Crisis.
“The City of Eugene is pleased to sign onto this important initiative,” said Mayor Vinis. “We look forward to working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the other House America partners to continue our work towards addressing the homelessness crisis, making homelessness in our community, and across America, rare, brief, and non-recurring.”
The announcement came while Dr. Richard Cho, Senior Advisor to HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, was in Eugene for the opening of The Nel. The state of Oregon has also joined the House America initiative.
“Secretary Fudge and I are thrilled to have the State of Oregon and City of Eugene signing on to House America,” said HUD Regional Administrator Margaret Salazar. “Oregon and Eugene have been at the forefront of affordable housing development at a national level, and it makes sense that they would leverage their expertise and innovation as part of this initiative. They join two other House America communities in Oregon – Washington County and Bend – and their commitment to getting more people indoors is what House America is all about.”
House America is a national partnership in which HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (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 re-housing and building additional housing for people experiencing homelessness.
House America leverages funding from the American Rescue Plan, federal, state, and local resources to re-house at least 100,000 households experiencing homelessness and add at least 20,000 new units of affordable housing into the development pipeline by December 31, 2022. Within those national goals, communities will set and achieve local re-housing and unit creation goals.
“Housing is a critical determinant of health, that has never been more true. At the local, state, and federal levels we must take every action necessary to work towards ensuring the people of Oregon have a safe and affordable place to call home,” Director Bell said. “That is our commitment and collective responsibility.”
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 February, HUD released its 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress, which found that more than 326,000 people experienced homelessness in the United States on a single night in January 2021. HUD’s homeless assessment report found that there were 9,048 sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals in Oregon, 2,317 of whom were in the Lane County, where Eugene is located. COVID-19 has created greater urgency to address homelessness, given the heightened risks faced by people experiencing homelessness. At the same time, COVID-19 has slowed re-housing activities due to capacity issues and impacts on rental market vacancies.
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 Eugene, HUD awarded 184 Emergency Housing Vouchers and $4,728,637 in HUD HOME Investment Partnerships Program funding, a resource which can be used to achieve Eugene’s housing goals to add 152 homes to their development pipeline by the end of the year that will serve people exiting homelessness, an additional 47 homes for extremely low-income households, and re-house 45 households from homelessness into housing. The State of Oregon is committing to re-house 3,500 people and fund the creation of 214 permanent supportive homes by the end 2022, including small towns and rural communities in the state.
Communities also have resources remaining through the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and state and local resources to re-house people experiencing homelessness and create additional dedicated housing units to address homelessness. House America provides communities with the focus, resolve, and technical know-how needed to deploy these resources to maximize impact.
To learn more about House America or to join the initiative, visit: www.hud.gov/house_america. For a list of House America participants, visit: www.hud.gov/house_america/partners.