How Government Grants Provide Critical Assistance for Homelessness Crisis

The homelessness crisis in America has reached unprecedented levels, with over 580,000 people experiencing homelessness according to the latest data.

While this complex issue requires comprehensive solutions, government grants are providing critical immediate relief by funding homeless assistance programs across the country.


Federal Funding Buys Time for Long-Term Solutions

As nonprofits struggle to meet rising demands for shelter and services, federal grants offer a lifeline.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides over $2 billion annually in Homeless Assistance Grants to support local programs. These grants fund:
  • emergency shelters
  • transitional housing
  • permanent supportive housing
And other vital services to help people get back on their feet.

In recent years, HUD grants have enabled communities to implement coordinated entry systems to streamline access and prioritize those most in need. They have:
  • expanded rapid re-housing programs to help families quickly regain stable housing
  • supported permanent supportive housing with wraparound services for those facing chronic homelessness
While long-term solutions require substantial investments in affordable housing and living-wage jobs, HUD grants are providing stopgap funding to stabilize the crisis in the near term. 


Partnerships Between Government and Nonprofits Are Key

HUD grants are awarded to state and local governments, who then contract with nonprofits to provide direct services.

For example, The Salvation Army relies on government grants to operate emergency shelters across the country.

At the local level, housing authorities often partner with nonprofits like Goodwill Industries to connect homeless individuals with permanent housing and employment services.

These public-private partnerships allow nonprofits to access resources, and government bodies to gain important insights to develop responsive, community-based solutions.


Continued Investments Needed as Crisis Persists

While current funding has slowed the growth of homelessness, the crisis remains daunting in many communities. Sustained investments will be necessary to make meaningful progress.

As Congress considers budgets for the coming year, full funding for Homeless Assistance Grants must remain a top priority.

With people experiencing homelessness facing heightened risks from: COVID-19, severe weather, and other threats, reducing homelessness must be viewed as an urgent public health issue.

The homelessness crisis demands both short-term relief and long-term solutions. 

With smart investments and strong partnerships across sectors, we can work towards a future where everyone has a safe, stable place to call home.

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