Veterans experiencing chronic homelessness are often living in precarious and unsafe conditions. Therefore, it is imperative that PHAs and VAMCs work together to help Veterans use their vouchers to lease a housing unit as quickly as possible. Once a HUD-VASH voucher is issued, a Veteran has up-to 120 days to use the voucher to lease a unit, after which, unless the PHA grants the Veteran an extension, the Veteran loses the voucher and it is offered to the next eligible applicant. However, programs should strive to have an average lease-up period of one month as in Washington, DC.
VAMCs and PHAs should also work together to remove local barriers to housing people experiencing chronic homelessness. This means being flexible in satisfying PHA income verification and identification requirements and not requiring veterans to demonstrate sobriety or “housing readiness” as a condition for receiving a voucher. Additionally, PHAs cannot require Veterans to meet a minimum income requirement as a condition for receiving a voucher.
All of the agencies involved in the housing placement processshould work collaboratively to streamline the HUD-VASH enrollment and lease up process. Housing placement boot camps, organized by 100K Homes, are full-day events during which members from each agency involved in housing placement work together to construct a game board that represent each step of the housing placement process. The agencies then use the game board to streamline their placement process while still meeting their documentation and other requirements.
To facilitate rapid lease-up Veterans often need assistance paying the security deposit and other move-in costs. The HUD-VASH subsidy, by statute, cannot help with these expenses but some communities have been successful in establishing other sources of funding to help Veterans pay for moving related expenses. To cover moving costs, HUD-VASH programs can access local HUD funding through the Community Development Block Grant and Emergency Solutions Grant programs or VA funding from Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) grants. Some communities have also partnered with local banks and businesses to develop programs where Veterans can receive loans to pay for moving-related expenses.
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