HUD VASH Forum Partners Collaborate to Fight Veteran Homelessness
Ada Holloway, HUD Georgia Director of Public Housing welcomes participation to the HUD VASH Forum
The Atlanta Office of Public Housing in HUD's Atlanta Regional Office recently conducted the Atlanta HUD VASH Forum. The focus of the forum was to recognize the need for closer and more collaborative efforts to combat and defeat veteran homelessness but also on discussing the current efforts in the identification of chronically homeless veterans, the lease up process, continuation of case management, and the connection of additional services leading to employment and stability. The Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD VASH) program is a collaborative effort between U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to house our homeless veterans
"The success of the HUD VASH program depends on the collaboration of all partners, that is why we host regular meetings such as the VASH Forum," stated Ada Holloway, HUD Georgia, Director of the Office of Public Housing.
The forum also provided a platform for Metropolitan Atlanta partners to speak about their services and the ongoing collaboration with HUD VASH. Three major partners in the effort Project Community Connections Inc., United Way of Greater Atlanta, and Hope Atlanta were represented with over 75 participants overall attending from throughout the metro area. In addition to providing a hand up, other forms of services such as continuing education, on the job training and, resume writing have been extended to assist veterans with the right tools towards employability and financial stability.
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.
Every year since 2008, HUD and VA have awarded HUD-VASH vouchers based on geographic need and public housing agency (PHA) administrative performance. The allocation process for HUD-VASH vouchers is a collaborative approach that relies on three sets of data: HUD's point-in-time data submitted by Continuums of Care (CoCs), VAMC data on the number of contacts with homeless Veterans, and performance data from PHAs and VAMCs.
After determining which areas of the country have the highest number of homeless Veterans, the VA Central Office identifies VA facilities in the corresponding communities. HUD then selects PHAs near to the identified VA facilities, taking into consideration the PHAs' administrative performance, and sends the PHAs invitations to apply for the vouchers.
HUD has awarded funding for approximately 10,000 HUD-VASH vouchers each year in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. There is at least one site in each of the 50 states, in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. In 2011, $50 million was appropriated to serve approximately 7,000 voucher families. In addition, HUD set-aside $5.4 million from its 2010 allocation to competitively award over 600 project-based vouchers to existing HUD-VASH sites. Since 2008, a total of 58,155 vouchers have been awarded.