The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs to create the HUD-VASH program. The HUD-VASH program is unique to Veterans and combines HUD’s housing vouchers with case management and supportive services provided by VA. The HUD-VASH voucher program is specifically designed for the most vulnerable of the Veteran population: those that are homeless.
Housing Choice Voucher Program
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a program called the Housing Choice Voucher Program. This program is designed to assist very low-income families, elderly, and the disabled in securing affordable, decent, safe, and healthy housing. Housing assistance in the form of subsidized rental payments are provided on behalf of the tenant household, and the tenant is able to seek housing in the private market where they wish. So the tenant is not restricted to use the voucher only at government housing projects. The housing they choose can be an apartment, townhome, single-family home, etc. Under certain conditions, a household is able to use their housing voucher to purchase a home.
Many people know the Housing Choice Voucher program as the Section 8 Housing Program, often called Section 8, referring to Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 which authorizes the federal government to make subsidized rental payments to landlords on behalf of low-income households.
There are requirements to be eligible to participate in the housing voucher program. As mentioned earlier, this program is for those that are very low-income based on the median income for their area and HUD-VASH prioritizes Veterans experiencing chronic homelessness. Housing vouchers are administered by organizations that are registered with HUD as a Public Housing Agency. There are requirements a home must meet for the tenant to be able to use their housing voucher at that location. The Public Housing Agency determines the minimum health and safety standards and pays a subsidy to the landlord on behalf of the participating household.
Types of Vouchers
There are basically two types of vouchers: tenant and project-based. Tenant-based vouchers travel with the tenant. For example, a tenant is living somewhere with tenant-based assistance, and they decide to move. Their housing voucher would travel with them if they still meet eligibility requirements. Project-based vouchers are tied to a specific unit, at a specific project. When a tenant vacates the eligible unit, a new tenant can then move in as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for that unit.
HUD-VASH vouchers can be project based and are critical to our mission to increase the supply of affordable housing for our United States military Veterans. VASH vouchers allow Veterans to afford their housing payment no matter how much money they [don’t] have because the voucher subsidizes their housing payment. So Veterans who are homeless and those who don’t have any income can still be housed because the voucher pays their rent.
There are thousands of HUD-VASH vouchers across the nation that have been going unused. Public Housing Agencies can have low VASH utilization rates for many reasons. One major reason is because landlords are averse to renting to high-risk Veterans. Past drug use, evictions, and criminal history, etc. precludes many homeless Veterans from obtaining housing. Garrison For Veterans is here to solve that problem. We fundamentally understand the unique circumstances surrounding Veteran housing. We use a model based on Housing First and our communities reduce the barriers Veterans face obtaining permanent housing.
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