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HUD Secretary Marcia L Fudge Penned An Op-ed In The Hill

HUD’s secretary, Marcia L. Fudge authored an op-ed stating the measures HUD is taking to end homelessness, homeless encampments, and ways to put people first.

May 1, 2023

Marcia L. Fudge, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development authored an op-ed on The Hill on April 28, 2023, discussing how HUD programs can reduce homelessness, and homeless encampments, and put people first.

Marcia Fudge met a woman settling into a tattered sleeping bag on the sidewalk on a cold night in 2022. The woman was among the dozens of people living in the park. She along with several other workers visited the park to take into account the nation’s homeless population. The woman was called Gladys and was in her 50s. For a few months, Gladys has been sleeping in that park but she was homeless for quite a time. Like others, Gladys had no tent to shield herself from the outside elements and was talking to a doll. Marcia L. Fudge offered her an opportunity to sleep in a shelter last night and felt grateful that she was protected from the cold last night.

Marcia said “Like hers, there are several stories that I carry within me every day being the 18th secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Instead of treating the homeless people in America as nameless or anonymous, people should think of them as their neighbors and family members. Most of the homeless people are seniors, people with disabilities, and some are suffering from chronic health conditions. Such homeless people are the ones that have faced life’s most difficult circumstances and injustices alone.” Marcia L. Fudge feels that no one should have to sleep on the hard ground of the park in the greatest nation on earth irrespective of the circumstances. Still, thousands of people spend nights on streets, in tents, under bridges, and next to riverbanks.

HUD is committed to addressing the homelessness crisis at the earliest at the federal level. The Bidden-Harris administration provided a variety of resources to reduce homelessness such as emergency housing vouchers and funding to build affordable housing. As far as homelessness in encampments is concerned, it requires new approaches and resources so that we can reach them.

HUD is addressing unsheltered and rural homelessness by expanding resources and support to communities. A total of 62 communities across the country including both rural and urban will receive $486 Million in grants, more than 3300 housing vouchers, and technical assistance to connect homeless people to housing and supportive services such as healthcare and behavioral health treatment. With the help of these resources and services, the communities can easily help people like Gladys to find a home and live a life with dignity. This will also allow the leaders to make their communities stronger and healthier instead of merely relocating encampments.
The problem does not get solved by clearing encampments without helping people find a place to live. The best way forward for dealing with this is to connect people with much-needed housing and supportive services devoid of unnecessary strings.

The key is to focus on people transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing. Since 2010, there has been a 55% decrease in former service members sleeping on the streets, and all thanks to the government that worked to transition homeless veterans to permanent housing and provide them with the desired support services. Consequently, the crisis can easily be solved by directly engaging with the homeless people and offering them the support they need.

A growing number of communities are showing how humanely and effectively they are addressing encampments. These communities are implementing emergency management strategies to provide care and address the issue of unsheltered homelessness, treating it as a humanitarian crisis.

The investments provided by the HUD to these 62 communities showcase the power our government has to solve such vexing challenges.

Last Updated: September 20, 2021