Homeless tents on set up on 16th Street in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

Mayor Todd Gloria Monday joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge 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 under which HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness invite mayors, county leaders, tribal nation leaders and governors to use investments provided through the American Rescue Plan. The partnership is intended to rehouse and build additional homes for those experiencing homelessness.

“I’m proud to join Secretary Fudge and the Biden Administration for the House America initiative,” Gloria said. “Addressing San Diego’s housing affordability and homelessness challenges are two of the top priorities of my administration.”

“Collaborating with HUD and USICH will help us in our efforts to ensure that everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home,” Gloria said.

House America is the federal government’s response to the homelessness crisis, which was increasing even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, HUD released part one of its 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, which found that more than 580,000 people experienced homelessness in the United States on a single night in January 2020.

COVID-19 has created greater urgency to address homelessness while simultaneously slowing rehousing activities due to capacity issues and impacts on rental-market vacancies.

Through the American Rescue Plan, San Diego received 480 emergency housing vouchers and $21 million in HOME Investment Partnerships grants to connect more residents to stable homes.

As a member of House America, San Diego plans to partner with HUD to use American Rescue Plan resources and other state and local dollars to rehouse 2,065 households and add 1,053 new units of affordable housing into the development pipeline by Dec. 31, 2022.

City News Service contributed to this article.

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