The government has a responsibility to confront housing insecurity, ensure access to homes and eliminate housing discrimination. Strengthening the lives of both individuals and communities through access to housing is essential, according to Adrianne Todman, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Todman said the economic environment is part of the reason American homelessness increased in HUD’s most recent data.
- HUD worked with partners including the Treasury Department to deploy rental assistance funds and prevent families from defaulting on mortgages during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Todman; the department hopes to see in this year’s Point-in-Time count that those measures worked.
- Todman said HUD is using the Emergency Housing Voucher program through the American Rescue Plan Act to place people into apartments by working with local housing authorities and Continuums of Care, generally nonprofits that identify the most vulnerable homeless.
- HUD, in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, has decreased veteran homelessness by over 50% in the past 10 years, according to Todman.
- Todman said the department and local partners created the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative to provide young adults aging out of foster care with rental assistance and job development opportunities.
- HUD works with government partners including the Department of Health and Human Services, nonprofits and landlords to try to prevent evictions, said Todman.
- HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge has emphasized the importance of the Fair Housing Act, and a task force looking into appraisal bias will release a report later this year, said Todman. Those who think they have experienced housing discrimination should go to hud.gov.
- The department released a Climate Action Plan in November, focusing on resilient, sustainable building after disasters and prioritizing environmental justice, Todman said.
- HUD helped provide assistance after recent hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires and collaborates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Todman.