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What Do We Know (So Far) About Homelessness Funding in the FY 2024 Budget?

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Last Saturday, President Biden signed into law a bill providing funding for the rest of fiscal year 2024 for some federal agencies. These include the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Bipartisan Efforts Yield Better Investments

For people working on homelessness, the best news is an increase of $418 million for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants account (including Continuum of Care, Emergency Solutions Grants, and several smaller items). This marks two years in a row of $400 million+ increases. This year was especially notable because in this Congress the bill required and received support from leaders in both parties. The 11.5 percent increase is one of the largest one-year percentage increase since FY1999. That was the year when Republican support for new Housing First approaches started nearly two decades of increased investments in homelessness programs. This further demonstrates that bipartisan support is critical for funding the programs that get people out of homelessness and into housing.

Even bigger increases took place in rental assistance programs. Most of this money will go to cover the cost of increased rents so that housing choice vouchers remain usable. However, the spending bill also included $45 million for new incremental vouchers for veterans, youth, and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This is enough to stably house thousands of people.

This bill also included solid funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs homeless assistance programs, which will allow continued progress.

Some Departments Still Await Funding

There are other agencies that have important programs for ending homelessness, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Labor. However, funding for those agencies has not been considered in final form by the full Congress yet. As a result, the March 22 deadline could still lead to a partial government shutdown, or the deadline could be extended.

What the Increased Funding Tells Us

The results for HUD and VA show how people in the homeless services world are making things happen:

People with lived experience are using their understanding to make programs work better and advocate more effectively.
It’s becoming more obvious that homelessness is tied to bigger issues like racial equity, housing affordability, and wages.
People are effectively advocating, attending Capitol Hill Day, and building relationships with Members of Congress and their staff.
The programs funded by these accounts are making a big difference in communities around the country. And it is thanks to all of your work.

Congratulations to everyone who advocated for these investments, and to all people whose lives will be made better by these resources!

The post What Do We Know (So Far) About Homelessness Funding in the FY 2024 Budget? appeared first on National Alliance to End Homelessness.

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