Last week, as part of the ALL INside Initiative, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved requests by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) and the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) to lower the local requirements for housing vouchers.
Los Angeles is one of the six communities part of ALL INside, which the White House and USICH launched in May. The initiative—a key part of All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness—brings together federal, state, and local leaders to help people move off the streets and into homes where they can recover from the trauma of homelessness and rebuild their lives. The other communities are: Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix Metro, Seattle, and the state of California. For the next 2 years, the Biden administration will embed a federal official into each community and deploy federal teams to work with local and state leaders to lower regulatory barriers to housing and health care. Along with HUD, the following agencies have joined the initiative: the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs (VA), as well as AmeriCorps, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the General Services Administration, and the Social Security Administration.
“HUD is committed to supporting every community’s effort to solve homelessness by helping vulnerable people obtain housing and supportive services,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “In light of the extraordinary crisis of homelessness that exists in Los Angeles, HUD is allowing the Los Angeles housing authorities to modify a rule that too often delays people’s access to the assistance they need to move from the streets or temporary housing into healthy, stable, affordable homes.”
“This is exactly the kind of flexibility that helps people move from homelessness to housing. I commend HUD for moving so quickly, and Mayor Bass and her team as they have pushed for this to happen,” said Jeff Olivet, executive director of USICH, which represents 19 federal agencies.
Housing Choice Vouchers—which help seniors, families, and other people with low incomes to afford rental housing in the private market—are a key part of federal, state, and local strategies to reduce homelessness. The waiver that HUD has approved will allow the Los Angeles housing authorities to issue housing vouchers to people experiencing homelessness, and then verify their income via independent, third-party sources within 60 days. The prior requirement requires that income be verified before the agency may issue a housing voucher.
This action is the latest in a series HUD has taken to support Los Angeles’ efforts to address homelessness. Since the beginning of 2020, HUD has awarded approximately 7,400 new Housing Choice Vouchers to HACLA and LACDA. These include some 5,300 Emergency Housing Vouchers that come with substantial regulatory flexibility to facilitate their use by people experiencing homelessness. In addition, HUD has approved several waiver requests that HACLA and LACDA have submitted over the past several years, including several that will facilitate the use of housing vouchers by people experiencing homelessness.