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HUD-VASH - A New Approach for Veterans and Homelessness

  • Published: 2012-06-15 (Revised/Updated 2015-02-03) : Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss : Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: HUD-VASH services for homeless and eligible veterans and family members through local community based outpatient clinics and medical centers.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has joined forces with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with the goal of moving veterans and their family members who are homeless into permanent, supportive housing with healthcare services and case management.

The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA provides these services for participating Veterans at VA medical centers (VAMCs) and community-based outreach clinics. HUD allocates the special purpose vouchers to local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), who must collaborate with their local VA Medical Center (VAMC) to administer the assistance.

The program is called, 'HUD-VASH,' short for HUD-VA Supportive housing and combines rent assistance from HUD with the VA's clinical services and case management. The services are available to veterans and their family members who are homeless and eligible through local community-based outpatient clinics and medical centers across America.

HUD-VASH involves two different parts.

HUD provides veterans and family members with Housing Choice Vouchers through public housing authorities. The VA hires case managers who provide intensive support and assist veterans who are homeless to secure and maintain long-term housing. The program provides a long-term solution for veterans and their family members who are very low-income by allowing them to choose decent, affordable, safe, and privately owned rental housing.

The HUD-VASH program allocated almost 38,000, 'Housing Choice,' Section 8 vouchers throughout America; vouchers that allow veterans and their family members to live in rental units while the VA provides case management. A housing subsidy is paid to the veteran's landlord on behalf of the veteran. The veteran pays the difference between the amount of the rent and the amount the Housing Choice voucher pays.

The program offers veterans the case management services they need in order to recover from homelessness, to include mental health and substance use treatment services and VA primary care. It also offers employment supports, income assistance, credit repair, disability benefits, and skills in relation to money management. The, 'Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program,' is one that provides grants and per diem payments, as funding is available,' to assist nonprofit and public organizations to establish and operate supportive housing and service centers for veterans who are homeless. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) believes that people who have served America as veterans should never find themselves living on the streets.

The, 'Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Providers Program,' makes every foreclosed VA property available for sale to homeless provider organizations. The properties become for sale at a 20-90% discount in order to provide shelter to veterans who are homeless. The, 'Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program (SSVF),' meanwhile, provides both grants and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations that are based within communities to assist veterans and their family members to remain in their homes.

The primary focus of the, 'Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration Program (VHPD),' is veterans who have or are returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The purpose of the program is to explore ways the government can offer early homelessness prevention intervention, particularly to the increasing numbers of female veterans and veterans who have families with a single head of household, and veterans of the National Guard and Reserve who are being discharged. The VA anticipates the VHPD will provide the opportunity to gain understanding about the unique needs of these veterans while supporting efforts to identify and conduct research about them. The program is expected to provide these populations of veterans with assistance in regaining and maintaining housing.

As a citizen, you can do your part to help promote a better life for the veterans who have served America.

If you are aware of a veteran who is either at risk of being homeless or is homeless, give them the number to the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans: 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838). The number connects veterans who are at risk of becoming homeless or who are homeless and their family members with the VA benefits and services they have earned and need.

As a veteran, are you at risk of losing your housing, or are you having trouble finding or keeping a job

Do you have health issues that make it hard to work in the first place? The VA can help to provide you with the supports you have earned through your service to America. Call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans; just make the call. When you call:

The Homeless Veterans online chat and telephone hotline are both absolutely free. You do not have to be registered or enrolled with the VA or VA healthcare to use them. Through 1-877-4AID-VET, the VA helps veterans and their family members get the help they need.

Opportunities to Return to Work

The Veterans Administration's, 'Compensated Work Therapy Program (CWT),' is made up of three different programs, all of which help veterans who are homeless to return to competitive employment. The programs include Transitional Work, Sheltered Workshop, and Supported Employment. Veterans who are involved in CWT are paid at least the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is more.

The, 'Homeless Veteran Supported Employment Program (HVSEP),' provides veterans with vocational assistance, job development and placement, as well as ongoing supports with the goal of improving employment outcomes for veterans who are at risk of becoming homeless or who are homeless. Veterans who were homeless who have been trained as Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists (VRS's) provide the services for their fellow veterans.

Health Care Services and At Risk or Homeless Veterans

The Department of Veteran's Affair's (VA's), 'Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program (HCHV),' offers veterans outreach, examinations, referrals, treatment, as well as case management for veterans who are homeless and who are dealing with substance use or mental health issues. Veterans can receive care at more than 135 different HCHV locations where trained and caring VA specialists provide them with the supports and tools they need to get their lives going in a better direction.

The VA's, 'Homeless Veterans Dental Program,' provides veterans with dental treatment if they are eligible through some different programs such as:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is currently working to expand dental care to every veteran who is eligible within the Homeless Veterans Dental Program.

A project through the VA referred to as the, ' Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups,' or, 'Project CHALENG,' finds advocates, providers, as well as concerned citizens working together with the goal of identifying the needs of veterans who are homeless. They work to meet the needs of homeless veterans via planning and cooperative actions, a process that has helped to build thousands of relationships between Veterans Affairs and community agencies and better serve veterans who are homeless.

Mental Health Services and Homeless Veterans

The, 'Veteran Justice Outreach,' provides eligible and justice-involved veterans with timely access to the VA's substance use and mental health services when it is clinically indicated. It also provides them with access to additional VA benefits and services when they are appropriate. The VA's, 'Substance Use Disorder Treatment Enhancement Initiative,' gives veterans substance use services in their own communities, helping veterans who are homeless to recover.

The, 'Readjustment Counseling Service's Vet Center Programs,' have locations within communities, as well as outreach activities, which help in the identification of veterans who are homeless and matching veterans with the services they need. The VA's, 'Health Care Re-Entry Veterans Program,' helps veterans who are incarcerated to successfully rejoin their community through supports which include addressing substance use and mental health issues.

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