Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH)
Participating VA medical centers (VAMCs) were selected based on factors such as the population of homeless Veterans needing services in the area, the number of homeless Veterans served by the homeless programs at each facility, geographic distribution and VA case management resources. PHAs that agreed to partner with the selected VA medical facilities were invited to apply for HUD-VASH vouchers. Homeless Veterans are first screened by the VA medical facility and then referred to the partner PHA for the HCV eligibility determination and issuance of the voucher. Agreement of the Veteran to participate in case management is a condition of receiving the rental assistance. HUD’s FY 2011 and FY 2012 appropriations included funding for approximately 7,000 and 10,000 additional HUD-VASH vouchers respectively.
Through the alternative HUD-VASH operating requirements, a number of the regular HCV rules were waived to expedite the processing of Veterans’ applications, including rules on HCV waiting lists and the screening of applicants. PHAs must process applications for the HUD-VASH program only from Veterans that are referred by a partnering VAMC; therefore, Veterans are not placed on the PHA’s normal HCV waiting list prior to the PHA’s processing of their application. In addition, PHAs only screen HUD-VASH applicants for income eligibility and to make sure that the applicants are not registered under a state sex-offender registration program. Normally, PHAs must screen HCV applicants according to a long list of both HCV program requirements and PHA-specific requirements. By eliminating regular HCV rules on waiting lists and screening requirements, Veterans’ applications for HUD-VASH vouchers are processed much more quickly than those individuals and families that apply for the regular HCV program.
All Veterans served by HUD-VASH are homeless prior to program entry. HUD does not collect data on the types of locations or facilities where the Veterans have lived prior to participating in the program. VAMCs determine Veterans’ homeless status prior to program entry, and the McKinney-Vento definition of a homeless individual is used.
Number of Homeless Persons Assisted
As of December 31, 2011, PHAs and VAMCs had permanently housed over 35,000 homeless Veterans and their families through HUD-VASH.
USICH and VA have released guidance on how best to implement HUD-VASH successfully. The USICH toolkit provides information for providers, local Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs), and others directly involved with placing Veterans in housing. The VA guidance provides in-depth information to provide case managers, and others who work with homeless Veterans in the HUD-VASH program, with a comprehensive set of resources to assist in addressing the multifaceted needs of homeless Veterans.