It is now 100% FEMA reimbursable for local government to house homeless individuals not only in shelters, but hotels, motels, and housing all non-congregate. Currently FEMA has been reimbursing at a 75% rate which the city/state has needed to make up the rest and most often cannot. Considering how the previous administration handled the housing during crisis during this pandemic, this is good news. This extension will last until September 30th but it is on local government to act and take advantage of this aid for houseless individuals.
Previously Minnesota was 1 of seven states approved for a similar program where those who have benn exposed, tested positive or are at high risk were the only ones eligible. This seemed like a foresight to most due to being homeless being a risk factor in itself. Now this program is across the U.S. and eligible to any homeless person providing a non-congregate living space. This new memorandum was just put into effect January 21st so the roll out of resources still needs to planned and implemented. Unfortunately, this means we cant immediately place homeless individuals into hotel rooms and tell them to bill FEMA before bureaucracy gobbles it up. Local government is in charge of sourcing available non-congregate housing which will be the difficult part.
Ways to help and jumpstart this are: Urge health officials to activate DHAP which would help transition those in the temporary FEMA housing to a permanent housing solution. Urge state officials to share clear guidance on program rules and ensure full transparency on details. Push for the resurrection of openFEMA which could be used to make this data available for greater racial, income, and accessibility equity.