- Baltimore, Maryland, found housing for 1,443 households experiencing homelessness in 2022 and added more than 2,500 affordable housing units to its development pipeline with the help of federal funds and technical support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city announced on Tuesday.
- Baltimore joined HUD’s House America initiative in May 2022 and set goals of rehousing 1,000 households experiencing homelessness and adding at least 1,600 new affordable housing units to its development pipeline in 2022. It exceeded both of those goals.
- “We were very intentional in our effort to meet the needs of our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement. “I’m so pleased we not only met but exceeded our 2022 goals, and we will keep striving to make homelessness a rare and brief occurrence.”
Despite a poverty rate of around 20% and home prices that have surged in recent years, Baltimore managed to reduce its homeless population by about 36% between 2018 and 2022, when it tallied 1,597 people in its most recent point-in-time count, which counts all unhoused individuals in the city on a single night.
Even though Baltimore found permanent housing for a significant number of households in relation to the number identified as homeless in last year's point-in-time count, the city is not declaring victory. Because people continuously enter and exit homelessness, it is still unclear how much further the city has moved the needle in reducing its homeless population, said Kyana Underwood, public information officer for the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services. The 2023 point-in-time count should give city officials a clearer picture.
Like an increasing number of cities throughout the U.S., Baltimore takes a housing-first approach to address homelessness, which prioritizes placing people into permanent housing as quickly as possible, Underwood said. Houston has used the approach to reduce its homeless population by 63% over a decade.
All the Baltimore households rehoused in 2022 were placed in or found permanent housing, and many of them received wraparound supportive services such as substance abuse treatment, Underwood said.
Baltimore is one of 105 communities across 31 states and territories and the District of Columbia that have joined the House America initiative, in which the federal government partners with local leaders to leverage American Rescue Plan Act funds to address homelessness through a housing-first approach.
Baltimore is launching additional efforts to address homelessness in 2023: It is enrolling households into its rapid rehousing program, launching shelter diversion training in the spring, and creating a housing accelerator fund to build and revitalize more affordable housing, the city stated in a press release.
Clarification: We have updated the story to convey that not all households that were rehoused were placed in housing by the city.