NEWARK – Newark Mayor Ras Baraka joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge Sept. 20, at a virtual event, to launch “House America: An All-Hands-On-Deck Effort to Address the Nation’s Homelessness Crisis.”
According to a release issued by HUD, House America is a national partnership, in which HUD and 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.
“The health and well-being of individuals and families and the economic security of our communities is at stake,” stated Fudge. “It’s going to take government working at all levels and local collaboration to address homelessness and to guarantee housing as a right for every American. Together, let’s House America.”
“As part of our continued commitment to eradicate homelessness in the City of Newark, I am proud to join with Secretary Fudge on House America,” stated Baraka. “Everyone should have a safe, stable home, and I’m grateful for President Biden’s American Rescue Plan resources to help house people experiencing homelessness here, in our city, state, and across the country.”
House America is the federal government’s direct response to the crisis of homelessness, which was rising even before the arrival of the Covid pandemic. In March, HUD released its 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress, which found that more than 580,000 people experienced homelessness in the U.S. on a single night in January 2020, prior to the pandemic. Covid has created greater urgency to address homelessness, given the heightened risks faced by people experiencing homelessness.
At the same time, Covid has slowed re-housing activities due to capacity issues and impacts on rental market vacancies.
“Before the Covid pandemic, there were over 9,000 homeless individuals in New Jersey,” stated Justin Scheid, HUD Newark field office director. “I urge New Jersey’s elected officials and stakeholders to join this effort and potentially lift thousands of individuals and families into permanent housing. I commend Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka for joining the House America initiative and taking the lead in the Garden State.”
Through the American Rescue Plan, the City of Newark received 101 emergency housing vouchers and $9,928,468 in HOME Investment Partnerships grants to help more residents obtain the safety of a stable home.
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