FY 2014 Appropriations: HUD-VA Supportive Housing Vouchers

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Federal Policy Brief | April 30, 2013

Files: HUD-VASH Vouchers (PDF | 222 KB | 1 PAGE)

Program Overview

The HUD-VASH program is a joint program of the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA). Under this joint Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, homeless veterans receive a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher from HUD that is coupled with case management and clinical services provided by VA at its medical centers and in the community. Eligible individuals and veterans are identified by VA. Evaluation of the HUD-VASH program has found that participants increase days housed, employment, income, and connections with family and friends. Program recipients have also been found to decrease their use of alcohol and the number of days that they spend homeless or in institutions.

More than 62,600 veterans, or about 10 percent of people experiencing homelessness, are homeless on a given night, according to the most recent data from HUD. At the most recent point-in-time count in January 2012, 44 percent of homeless veterans were unsheltered. Many of the veterans experiencing homelessness are chronically homeless, meaning that they have been on the streets for a long period of time or have had multiple homeless episodes.

Typically, veterans experiencing chronic homelessness have severe physical or mental disabilities, or have chronic substance abuse problems. Individuals who experience chronic homelessness typically require permanent supportive housing – housing linked with intensive supports such as those provided by the HUD-VASH program – to help them maintain housing stability. A number of studies have demonstrated that permanent supportive housing is a cost-effective approach that helps people who have intensive needs maintain stable housing, and some evidence shows that once back in housing they are likely to access health and substance abuse treatment. The HUD-VASH program has placed more than 70,000 into permanent supportive housing at last count.

Current Status

The Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget requests $75 million within HUD and $278 million for case management by VA for new HUD-VASH vouchers in FY 2014 to provide assistance to an estimated 10,000 additional veterans. Congress has funded approximately 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers in each FY 2008 through 2010 and in FY 2012 and 2013, with an additional estimated 7,700 in FY 2011.

Recommendation

Congress should continue to make ending homelessness among veterans a top priority by providing $75 million within HUD and $278 million with VA for new HUD-VASH vouchers in FY 2014, the amount requested in the President’s Budget Proposal to house an estimated 10,000 additional veterans.