HUD awards $801,249 in historic grants to address rural homelessness in Colorado

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is announcing the first set of communities to receive grants and vouchers to address homelessness among people in unsheltered settings and in rural communities. The national award total is nearly $315 million in grants to 46 communities. The Colorado Balance of State Continuum of Care (CoC), the body that coordinates the local implementation of the homelessness response system, received $801,249. 

“This historic investment in housing assistance, coupled with supportive services, will provide a lifeline to many individuals and families struggling with homelessness across rural Colorado,” said HUD Rocky Mountain Regional Administrator Dominique Jackson. “By looking at homelessness from all angles, HUD is demonstrating its commitment to addressing this crisis in meaningful and sustainable ways.” 

In the coming weeks, HUD will be awarding grants to an additional set of communities, as well as allocating housing vouchers to all awarded communities. Together, these grants and vouchers comprise a first-of-its-kind package of resources to help communities provide housing and supportive services to people in unsheltered settings and people experiencing homelessness in rural areas. Communities were also asked to develop a comprehensive approach to addressing unsheltered and rural homelessness that involves coordination with health care providers, other housing agencies such as public housing authorities, and people with lived experience. 

“Homelessness is a crisis, and it is solvable. Housing with supportive services solves homelessness. That’s why, for the first time the federal government is deploying targeted resources to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness in unsheltered settings or in rural areas,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “With these grants and vouchers, HUD is filling this gap and giving communities the resources and tools to improve housing and health outcomes for people on the streets, in encampments, under bridges, and in rural areas.” 

This funding initiative is also the first in which HUD has coordinated grants and housing vouchers. In response to the competitive special Notice of Funding Opportunity, Continuum of Care collaborative applicants were asked to formally partner with public housing authorities to leverage access to housing resources. Public housing authorities partnering with awarded CoC grantees will receive priority for approximately 4,000 Housing Choice “Stability” Vouchers that allow people experiencing homelessness to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing. 

From Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken action to deliver housing relief and to solve homelessness. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provided historic levels of homeless assistance –including nearly 70,000 Emergency Housing Vouchers and $5 billion in HOME Investment Partnership homelessness grants. HUD and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) launched House America, a national initiative in which HUD and USICH partnered with 105 communities led by mayors, county leaders, governors, and tribal nation leaders to place over 100,000 households from homelessness into permanent housing and add over 40,000 units of affordable housing into the development pipeline. In late December, USICH released All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, which set forth President Biden’s ambitious goal to reduce all homelessness by 25% by 2025. 

The resources announced today build upon the momentum and renewed political will at all levels of government to solve homelessness through the provision of housing with supportive services. They respond directly to the calls from state and local leaders, advocates, and people with lived experience for more federal assistance to address unsheltered and rural homelessness specifically. And they provide communities with the resources and tools to respond to homeless encampments humanely and effectively and to avoid approaches that criminalize homelessness. 


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