HUD gives $6.9M in added support to address homelessness in wake of Maui wildfires
Marion McFadden, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) for Community Planning and Development at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development announced new resources and support to address homelessness on Maui and across the state in the wake of the August 2023 wildfires.
PDAS McFadden traveled to Hawaiʻi last week to meet with stakeholders and community leaders to highlight HUD’s support for recovery, at the six month mark since the fires.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $6.9 million in Rapid Unsheltered Survivor Housing funding to the state of Hawaiʻi to address the needs of individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The funding will also serve those whose needs are not otherwise met by existing federal disaster relief programs.
This additional funding is a second allocation awarded to help communities on Maui recover in the wake of the wildfires. HUD provided $1.3 million in RUSH funding in August 2023.
“These much-needed resources allow us to reach some of our most vulnerable neighbors at a particularly difficult time,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “HUD will continue to work with our federal partners, local officials and communities on the rehousing effort and support the state of Hawai’i to recover in the wake of the destructive wildfires.”
Gov. Josh Green, M.D., expressed gratitude on behalf of his administration and the people of Maui.
“We say mahalo to HUD for the $6.9 million to help house the houseless on Maui and the 1115 Medicaid waiver that allows states to use Medicaid funds for housing. I have said since I served in the state legislature that housing is healthcare. By making sure the houseless have a roof over their heads, we know we can decrease costs relating to caring for the houseless up to 73%. This is validation that treating shelter and housing as a source of our people’s health, is the path forward,” said Gov. Green.
To balance the need to rapidly assist communities affected by disaster and accurately allocate funds based on need, HUD used a two-step allocation process. The first allocation was intended to quickly address the immediate unmet needs for homeless assistance and homeless prevention.
The second allocation, used the growing quantity and quality of data on the extent of damage, particularly for rental units occupied by very-low-income households and the level of unmet need.
The eligible activities for this funding are directed toward:
- People currently experiencing homelessness: emergency shelter; rapid re-housing, which provides up to 24 months of rental assistance, financial assistance for move in costs, and supportive services; and
- People who are at-risk of experiencing homelessness: homelessness prevention, which provides up to 24 months of rental assistance, utility assistance, and supportive services for people at risk of homelessness; and outreach assistance, including assistance to meet urgent needs.
RUSH funding is aimed at filling gaps in federal disaster assistance for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
HUD and the US Department of Health and Human Services also announced that the state of Hawai’i was selected alongside seven other states and the District of Columbia to participate in the HHS-HUD Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator, a federal initiative to help states expand supportive services that help people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness transition to housing and achieve housing stability.