The City of Allentown will receive nearly $3.5 million to help create affordable housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
The money comes from American Rescue Plan funds allocated through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program of nearly $5 billion to 651 grantees, including states, insular areas, and local governments.
Mayor Ray O’Connell said, “This is fantastic news. Local government simply has not had the resources to make a huge impact on the issue of homelessness. This allocation is critical to being able to really address the issue.”
City and Lehigh County government representatives have been in discussions on a large-scale plan to use funding for a complete transitional warming station and wrap-around services.
U.S. Housing Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced the grant package in Washington, D.C. last week.
Fudge has estimated that the total $5 billion package could get as many as 130,000 homeless people off the streets in the next 12 to 18 months. According to Fudge, even more communities across the country will have the resources to provide homes to people who have had to endure the coronavirus pandemic without one.
The money is part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that President Biden signed in March.
City Council’s Community & Economic Development Committee will be reviewing legislation introduced last Wednesday that would create a “homeless service coordinator” position responsible for “providing coordination and support for the initiatives of the Allentown Commission on Homelessness.” The position is expected to help reduce the number of people and families that experience homelessness, so that homelessness is rare, brief, and non-reoccurring.