Are there HUD emergency housing assistance programs?


Yes, HUD provides funding for cities, counties, states, and Public Housing Agencies for emergency housing programs and resources. Most of these programs only offer temporary housing and assistance, but there are services for permanent housing as well.

It is important to note that HUD's rental assistance subsidy programs are not emergency housing programs. Participants of these programs (such as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program and Public Housing) usually have to wait on awaiting list for several months or years before receiving assistance. Generally, large metropolitan areas will have longer wait times than lower populated areas.

The specific services provided by every local agency varies. Program providers can explain which services are available.

HUD is currently funding the following programs that provide emergency housing services for homeless families and individuals:

HUD's explanation of the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program says:

"The Continuum of Care (CoC) Program is designed to promote communitywide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness; promote access to and effect utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness."

Continuum of Care (CoC) Program providers use funds for multiple purposes, including:

  • Permanent Housing
    • "Community-based housing without a designated length of stay in which formerly homeless individuals and families live as independently as possible."* There are two CoC Permanent Housing programs:
      • Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
        • "Permanent housing with indefinite leasing or rental assistance paired with supportive services to assist homeless persons with a disability or families with an adult or child member with a disability achieve housing stability."*
      • Rapid Re-Housing (RRH)
        • "Housing search and relocation services and short- and medium-term rental assistance to move homeless persons and families (with or without a disability) as rapidly as possible into permanent housing."*
  • Transitional Housing
    • "Designed to provide homeless individuals and families with the interim stability and support to successfully move to and maintain permanent housing. Transitional housing may be used to cover the costs of up to 24 months of housing with accompanying supportive services."*
  • Supportive Services Only
    • Providers may "outreach to sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons and families, link clients with housing or other necessary services, and provide ongoing support."*
  • Homelessness Prevention
    • "The services under this component may include housing relocation and stabilization services as well as short- and medium-term rental assistance to prevent an individual or family from becoming homeless. Through this component, [participating agencies] may help individuals and families at-risk of homelessness to maintain their existing housing or transition to new permanent housing."*
  • Safe Havens
    • Provides temporary 24-hour shelter for persons who are homeless and have a serious mental illness. Safe Havens are different than standard shelters by encouraging residents to transition from life on the streets to permanent housing. No new Safe Haven projects are being funded, but existing projects can be renewed.
  • Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation SRO
    • Offered by Public Housing Agencies, properties were rehabilitated to offer Section 8 Rental Assistance to individual homeless persons. Tenants usually pay 30% of their adjusted income for rent. No new SRO projects are being funded, but they will continue to be renewed.

Further explanation of each of these components can be found here (*all quotes in the above CoC section are sourced from this page).

Where can I apply for Continuum of Care (CoC) services?

HUD has compiled a list of agencies that are receiving CoC funds. Contact information for Continuum of Care (CoC) agencies can be found here.

HUD's explanation of the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program, which was renamed in 2012, says:

"The change in the program’s name, from Emergency Shelter Grants to Emergency Solutions Grants, reflects the change in the program’s focus from addressing the needs of homeless people in emergency or transitional shelters to assisting people to quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness."

Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program providers use funds for multiple purposes, including:

  • Rapid Rehousing
  • Street Outreach
  • Homelessness Prevention
  • Emergency Shelter

Where can I apply for Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) services?

HUD has compiled a list of agencies that are receiving ESG funds. Contact information for Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) agencies can be found here.

The Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) Program provides housing assistance and supportive services to persons living with HIV/AID, and their families.

Where can I apply for Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) services?

HUD has compiled a list of agencies that are receiving HOPWA funds. Contact information for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) agencies can be found here.

"This program supports a wide range of housing programs including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and other innovative housing models such as host homes," according to HUD. Rather than providing funds to agencies, HUD awards funds to a select number of communities each year.

As said by HUD, "These communities will develop a coordinated community plan to prevent and end youth homelessness and will fund projects that are consistent with this plan. They will also participate in a program evaluation to inform the federal effort to prevent and end youth homelessness going forward and will serve as leaders in the nation on the work to end homelessness among young people." This is a coordination between housing providers, welfare agencies, school districts, workforce organizations, and the juvenile justice system.

Where can I apply for Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) services?

There is no information provided by HUD of the specific services provided in each community. However, HUD has created a map showing all communities that have received funding. This map can be found here, under the "YHDP Funding Awards" section, in the "Map of YHDP-Funded CoCs" link.

  • Local Emergency Assistance Programs

Your state may also have its own emergency assistance programs that helps with rent, utilities or other emergencies; and HUD has made that information easy to find. Information on local emergency housing assistance programs can be found here.

    More Emergency Housing FAQs from Low Income Households

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  • Are there local emergency housing assistance programs?
  • My income will be lower after I move. Would I apply using my current income, or the income I will receive after moving?