The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that there are almost 48,000 Veterans experiencing homelessness on any given night, about 11% of the total U.S. homeless population. In addition, 1.4 million more are at risk of becoming homeless. A complex problem, it involves much more than the lack of affordable housing. Many homeless Vets suffer from mental illness, alcoholism and other substance abuse, as well as post-traumatic stress disorders. They often lack access to social support networks. Because it is such a multifaceted issue, The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program combines housing vouchers with case management provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to give them access to the broad type of support they need to maintain successful transition back into mainstream society.
How It Works for Veterans
Veterans who meet the federal government’s definition of chronic homelessness who are eligible for VA health care services may apply to the program. A clinician at their local VA fills out the referral paperwork and sends it to a HUD-VASH Admission Team for review. Once admitted, they receive a housing voucher and a case manager who helps them secure access to treatment for medical, mental health and/or substance abuse problems. The case manager also connects them to other vital community services. After they move in, the case manager continues their partnership, helping them with medical appointments, financial, employment and income needs, unresolved legal issues and any other challenges that need to be meet in order to ensure success. Case management continues until the VA determines that it is no longer needed.
Applying for The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Voucher Program
Eligible applicants include state and local governments, and public housing agencies within the jurisdiction of a Veteran Affairs Medical Center. The Public Housing Authority must partner with VAMC or community-based outpatient clinic. Determination is based on:
- The areas of the country which have the highest number of homeless veterans
- Corresponding VA facilities in those areas.
- The administrative performance of public housing authorities.
Apply before September 9, 2016. Matching is not required.
This portal from HUD for municipal applicants contains further info on application requirements, links to webcasts, articles, reference guides, background information, community agencies, and best practices to help you be successful in applying and administering this program.
If you know of individuals who need help, the Veterans’ Crisis Line number is 1-800-273-8255. Additionally, there is a dedicated line just for homeless vets and those at risk of becoming homeless at 877-424-3838. Additional resources for individuals can be found here.
Note: We are following the VA's lead in capitalizing the word Veteran as a way to show respect.