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Baltimore and HUD leaders announce House America goals

HUD Senior Advisor Richard Cho in Baltimore on Wednesday. Credit: Charm TV Baltimore Livestream
HUD Senior Advisor Richard Cho in Baltimore on Wednesday. Credit: Charm TV Baltimore Livestream

Officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) joined Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and city agency leaders Wednesday to announce goals for addressing homelessness this calendar year.

Those goals include rehousing at least 1,000 households, as well as adding at least 1,600 affordable housing units to the development pipeline.

The goals are part of House America, a national partnership with HUD, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, and local leaders to address homelessness with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) spending.

HUD senior advisor Richard Cho said Scott is one of more than 90 local leaders who are part of House America.

“It is leadership like this that is going to solve homelessness and bring hope,” Cho said.

Scott was joined by Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy and Director of Homeless Services Irene Agustin.

He said the city’s House America goals will require working with a wide range of stakeholders and community members, including those who’ve experienced homelessness.

“We have to give them a hand to the side, not a hand up, so that they can find stability and get their lives back on track,” he said.

HUD and city agency leaders were joined by Freddie Jackson Jr., a Baltimore resident who was previously homeless.

After finding out he qualified for an emergency housing voucher, Jackson was able to move into a new apartment last month, which he says he “really loves.”

He expressed hope about the city’s House America goals, which he said would help others in need, including friends he met at the shelter who are still there.

“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home,” Jackson said.

The mayor previously allocated $90.4 million in ARPA money for homeless services.

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.