President Biden’s FY 2024 budget proposal, if enacted, would make significant progress toward the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of reducing homelessness 25% by 2025 and ultimately ending homelessness altogether.
The budget would dedicate approximately $10.3 billion in federal funding for homelessness assistance programs—an overall 6% increase from the enacted FY 2023 budget and a significant increase for several programs: 90% more for DOJ’s Transitional Housing Assistance Grants to Victims of Sexual Assault, 64% more for HHS’ Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness, and 23% more for HHS’ Health Care for the Homeless. (For more on targeted federal homelessness funding, click here.)
These investments build on the American Rescue Plan and the CARES Act, which provided historic levels of funding for ending homelessness. But another critical key to ending homelessness is preventing people from losing their homes in the first place.
Every day in America, roughly 2,500 people exit homelessness—yet, on a daily basis, roughly the same number fall into homelessness.
The president’s budget proposes vital, non-targeted investments to prevent homelessness and help USICH meet our ambitious but achievable goal to reduce homelessness 25% by 2025 and ultimately end it. For instance, the budget would guarantee housing vouchers for youth aging out of foster care and extremely low-income veterans. These investments are aligned with All In, the administration’s plan to prevent and end homelessness, which will go further than any previous federal effort to set a strategic and equitable path toward the systemic prevention of homelessness.
Here are some of the other ways the president’s budget would support All In’s prevention strategies:
Strategy 1: Reduce housing instability for households most at risk of experiencing homelessness by increasing availability of and access to meaningful and sustainable employment, education, and other mainstream services, opportunities, and resources.
- Prevents Eviction: To assist renters in accessing resources to avoid eviction, make the legal process during eviction proceedings fairer, and mitigate future housing instability, the budget provides $3 billion in mandatory spending for competitive grants to promote and solidify state and local efforts to reform eviction policies by providing access to legal counsel, emergency rental assistance, and other forms of rent relief.
- Expands Access to Affordable Rent: The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program currently provides 2.3 million low-income families with rental assistance to obtain housing in the private market. The budget provides $32.7 billion to maintain services for all currently assisted families and expand assistance to an additional 50,000 households, particularly those who are experiencing homelessness or fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence or other forms of gender-based violence. The budget further expands assistance to another 130,000 households with funding from HCV program reserves.
Strategy 2: Reduce housing instability for families, youth, and single adults with former involvement with or who are directly exiting from publicly funded institutional systems.
- Supports Foster Children: The budget provides states with support to place more foster children with relatives or other adults who have an existing emotional bond with the children, while also providing additional funding to support youth who age out of care without a permanent caregiver. In addition, the budget proposes to make the adoption tax credit refundable and to extend the credit to legal guardianships. This would reduce the financial burden on low- and moderate-income families wishing to pursue adoption, as well as for families who opt for legal guardianship.
- Improves Public Safety and Fairness in Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems. The budget advances and invests in comprehensive, evidence-informed, and high-impact initiatives to enhance public safety and advance equity in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The budget supports key investments to provide comprehensive, intensive, and market-driven workforce development services and reentry to people in the federal prison system.
Strategy 3: Reduce housing instability among older adults and people with disabilities—including people with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders—by increasing access to home- and community-based services and housing that is affordable, accessible, and integrated.
- Scales Behavioral Health Services: The budget provides historic investments in the behavioral health workforce, youth mental health care, Certified Community Based Behavioral Health Clinics, community mental health centers, and mental health research.
- Supports Aging in Place: The budget invests $150 billion over 10 years to improve and expand Medicaid home and community-based services, such as personal care services, which would allow seniors and individuals with disabilities to remain in their homes and stay active in their communities as well as improve the quality of jobs for home care workers.
Strategy 4: Reduce housing instability for veterans and service members transitioning from military to civilian life.
- Supports Low-Income Veterans: Over a 10-year period and at a cost of $13 billion, the budget expands rental assistance to extremely low-income veteran families, starting with an allocation of 50,000 targeted vouchers in 2025 and paving a path to guaranteed assistance by 2033 for all who have served the nation and are in need.
- Prioritizes Veterans’ Mental Health Services and Suicide Prevention: The budget invests $139 million within VA research programs, together with $16.6 billion within the VA Medical Care program, to increase access to quality mental healthcare and lower the cost of mental health services for veterans, with the goal of helping veterans take charge of their treatment and live full, meaningful lives.
Strategy 5: Reduce housing instability for American Indian and Alaska Native communities living on and off tribal lands.
- Supports Economic Opportunity in Rural and Tribal Communities: The budget provides $32 million to expand the Rural Partners Network, an all-of-government program led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that partners with rural and tribal communities to access resources and funding to create local jobs, build infrastructure, and support long-term economic stability on their own terms.
- Scales Affordable Housing: The budget provides over $1 billion to fund tribal efforts to expand affordable housing, improve housing conditions and infrastructure, and increase economic opportunities for low-income families
Strategy 6: Reduce housing instability among youth and young adults.
- Creates a Housing Voucher Guarantee for Youth Aging out of Foster Care: Approximately 20,000 youth exit foster care annually, typically between the ages of 18 and 21, and these young people face greater obstacles to accessing and maintaining housing and as a result experience higher rates of homelessness and housing instability compared to the general population. To ensure these young people are stably housed and better able to focus on advancing their education or building a career during this difficult transition, the budget establishes a housing voucher program for all youth aging out of foster care annually.
- Improves College Affordability: To help low- and middle-income students overcome financial barriers to postsecondary education, the budget proposes to increase the discretionary maximum Pell Grant by $500, providing over 6.8 million students with money for college. This request builds on successful bipartisan efforts to increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $900 over the past two years, and lays out a path to double the award by 2029. These combined housing and education investments ensure these young people are stably housed and better able to focus on advancing their education or building a career.
Strategy 7: Reduce housing instability among survivors of human trafficking, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence, including family violence and intimate partner violence.
- Supports Survivors of Domestic Violence and Other Forms of Gender-Based Violence: The budget proposes significant increases to support and protect survivors of gender-based violence, including $519 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services program to support domestic violence survivors—double the 2023 enacted level.
- Funds Vital Programs: The budget would provide additional funding for domestic violence hotlines and cash assistance for survivors of domestic violence, as well as funding to support a project evaluating services for survivors at the intersection of housing instability, substance use coercion, and child welfare. In addition, the budget would provide over $66 million for victims of human trafficking and survivors of torture, an increase of nearly $17 million from the 2023 enacted level.
Together, with these investments and joint action at the federal, state, and local levels, we can stem inflow into homelessness. With these investments in our communities and our people, we can build a future in which no one experiences the tragedy and indignity of homelessness and every American has a safe, stable, accessible, and affordable home.