The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday it was making an investment that could allow thousands of children to leave foster care.

HUD awarded $30 million to public housing authorities across the U.S. that will work closely with local public welfare agencies to identify youth at risk of homelessness and families whose lack of housing is the primary reason their children are in foster care.

“With this investment, Secretary Carson takes a major step forward in his plans to ensure that HUD resources provide a platform for strong families and opportunities for self-sufficiency,” said Ruth White, National Center for Housing and Child Welfare executive director. “We applaud the Secretary for leading the way towards interagency collaboration that will reunify thousands of children with their parents, improve the economic prospects for youth leaving foster care, and ultimately reduce costs.”

HUD expects this funding to make 3,000 vouchers available for families who are unable to secure affordable housing for their children or dependents.

“HUD is committed to helping parents and caregivers obtain safe and affordable housing for their families,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said. “This investment will allow thousands of children to leave the foster care system and live with their families so they have the opportunity to thrive together.”

The funding will be offered through HUD’s Family Unification Program, which provides rental assistance to parents struggling to provide housing for their children.

The funding can also be used to provide housing for young adults who are ages 18 to 24 who have aged out of the foster care system. The vouchers will allow families to rent housing from a private landlord and pay 30% of their monthly adjusted gross income toward rent and utilities.

This funding will actually be a cheaper alternative to housing children in foster care, which costs more than $48,000 annually per family, according to NCHCW. The cost to keep a family together through housing vouchers, on the other hand, costs about $15,000 annually per family.

Supportive services for FUP families and youth are provided by agencies funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A $20 million investment in FUP vouchers saves more than $134 million in foster care costs, according to NCHCW.