Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Joins Biden-Harris Administration to Launch House America Initiative to Address Homelessness Crisis

Oakland

House America leverages American Rescue Plan and other federal resources to immediately re-house and build additional housing for people experiencing homelessness

Today, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, who serves as chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), at a virtual event to launch House America: An All-Hands-On-Deck Effort to Address the Nation’s Homelessness Crisis.

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. 

“Oakland is setting our goal, as part of your overall goal to re-house 100,000 Americans, to re-house 1,500 Oaklanders as well as construct 132 new units of housing in the very, very expensive Bay Area,”said Mayor Schaaf. “In a country as great as America, we should not tolerate – especially our children, our families, our elders – calling our sidewalks home.”

House America is the federal government’s direct response to the crisis of homelessness, which was rising even before the arrival of the COVID-19 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 United States on a single night in January 2020, prior to the pandemic. COVID-19 has created greater urgency to address homelessness, given the heightened risks faced by people experiencing homelessness. At the same time, COVID-19 has slowed re-housing activities due to capacity issues and impacts on rental market vacancies.

Through the American Rescue Plan, Oakland received 515 emergency housing vouchers and $11.3 million in HOME Investment Partnerships grants to help more residents obtain the safety of a stable home.

As a founding member of House America, Mayor Schaaf and the City of Oakland will partner with HUD and USICH to use these American Rescue Plan resources to re-house households experiencing homelessness through a Housing First approach, and to add new units of affordable housing into the development pipeline by December 31, 2022.

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