The American Rescue Plan Act makes a significant investment in long-term solutions to our homelessness crisis by allocating $5 billion through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, with Ohio expecting $204 million.
The HOME-ARP program represents an extraordinary opportunity to create new housing opportunities for extremely low-income Ohioans. Years of inadequate funding has contributed to a homeless response system that is over-reliant on temporarily placing people in emergency shelters. The pandemic highlighted just how inadequate, unhealthy, and undignified these congregate settings were when agencies scrambled to move residents into hotels and other accommodations that could slow the spread of Covid-19.
Unlike other funding streams, this new money can be used to develop new non-congregate shelter and permanent housing for the unhoused. Communities can use this money for early capital to acquire properties, hotels and motels, and do pre-development work to create a pipeline of units.
By pairing HOME-ARP with Low Income Housing Tax Credits, bond financing, National Housing Trust Fund and other sources, developers will be able to create permanent financing which cover the substantial up-front costs required to build affordable and supportive housing for homeless people.
HUD is planning to release more guidance on this program in the fall, but homeless service agencies should reach out now to local officials to start planning so that Ohio’s communities are ready to compete when it comes time to leverage this new funding stream to create a safer, more housing-focused approach to homelessness.
Investing these new funds wisely to create housing for unhoused Ohioans could create more than 1,000 new supportive and affordable homes. COHHIO looks forward to working with our state and local partners to invest these one-time funds in long-term affordable housing solutions. For more information about the HOME – ARP funds and its grantees, visit the HUD website.