Targeting Veterans Experiencing Chronic Homelessness and Using Housing First
HUD-VASH programs are encouraged to adopt a Housing First model that focuses immediately on stabilizing Veterans in housing and then providing supportive services. The VA has provided guidance to VAMC case managers not to require Veterans to demonstrate sobriety or receive treatment for underlying addiction or mental health issues as a precondition for receiving housing assistance. To support targeting, HUD has eliminated all criminal history screening requirements for HUD-VASH vouchers except for the ban on lifetime sex offenders.
VAMC case managers are responsible for appropriate targeting of HUD-VASH resources through screening potential HUD-VASH participants and providing written referrals for eligible veterans to the participating PHA. The HUD-VASH Resource Guide provides a standard assessment that case managers can use to target assistance to Veterans experiencing chronic homelessness. VA case managers should actively collaborate with street outreach workers and shelter staff to identify Veterans experiencing chronic homelessness and assist them to enroll, locate units, and receive support through HUD-VASH resources. This is necessary to ensure that HUD-VASH assistance is effectively targeted and rapidly utilized. Communities can develop a registry of Veterans experiencing chronic homelessness that will function as a prioritized list for placement into permanent supportive housing. Some local examples of this are Washington, DC and other communities’ use of the Vulnerability Index and Seattle’s Client Care Coordination program.
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