Denver Joins Biden-Harris Administration Initiative on Homelessness

Published on September 21, 2021

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

Denver has 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), 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.

“We must work together to ensure every American has a safe and stable home,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “Here in Denver, we will continue to deploy every tool available to lift people out of homelessness as quickly as possible. I’m proud to join with Secretary Fudge on House America as Denver leads the way in using American Rescue Plan resources to house our residents experiencing homelessness.”

“The health and well-being of individuals and families and the economic security of our communities is at stake,” said Secretary 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.”

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, Denver received 190 emergency housing vouchers through the Denver Housing Authority and the city received $10.8M in HOME Investment Partnerships grants to help more residents obtain the safety of a stable home.

From the city’s ARPA allocation, as a companion to Mayor Hancock’s 2022 budget proposal and pending City Council approval, the Hancock Administration is proposing to deploy $28 million into the city’s Affordable Housing Fund to support affordable housing creation and preservation, and nearly $21 million to amplify homelessness resolution efforts, including:

  • $7.4 million to make physical improvements to the city’s 48th Avenue Shelters to reduce barriers to traditional shelter by providing more and better services for guests
  • $3.5 million for 24-hour shelter resiliency capital needs assessment
  • $3.5 million for life/safety improvements in city-owned recreation centers to enable them to serve as emergency shelters
  • $4.3 million to support alternatives to shelter such as Safe Outdoor Spaces, Safe Outdoor Parking and tiny home villages
  • $2 million to increase the number of rapid rehousing/rapid resolution and rental vouchers for people experiencing homelessness

To support the House America effort, Denver has committed to rehousing more than 500 households and creating 144 new units by September 2022. Over the last decade, the city has helped transition more than 11,000 people out of homelessness and into housing.

As a member of House America, Denver 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.

To learn more about House America, visit: www.hud.gov/house_america.

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