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  • The Center for Rural Homelessness

What is the HUD-VASH Voucher?

By: Katie Baughman, Policy Intern

OVERVIEW

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program (HUD-VASH) provides Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance and case management services to homeless Veterans. Under HUD-VASH, federal funds are allocated to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) across the country, who then locally issue HCV assistance towards homeless Veterans. HCV assistance, used to subsidize rental costs, is then sent directly from PHAs to landlords on behalf of recipients. Beyond rental assistance, HUD-VASH also awards Veterans access to a variety of counseling and mental health services offered at Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers. These resources are specifically targeted to support homeless Veterans in obtaining and maintaining permanent housing.


HUD-VASH, a joint project between HUD and VA, began receiving regular Congressional funding in 2008 and has steadily increased in capacity since then. For fiscal year 2023, $73 million was allocated to HUD-VASH for use by PHAs across the country.



HOW DOES THIS AFFECT RURAL AREAS?.


While about 6.1 million Veterans currently live in rural areas according to the VA, many Veteran assistance programs are concentrated in more urban areas, often leaving homeless rural Veterans without access to the same targeted services. The HUD-VASH program provides HCV support to Veterans throughout the country, including those living in rural areas. Unlike many other housing assistance programs, HCV is not limited to subsidized housing projects, which uniquely allows Veterans and families receiving HUD-VASH to choose their own housing. HUD-VASH then is uniquely beneficial in rural areas that have limited access to subsidized housing units, and where non-subsidized housing units’ rent would otherwise be unaffordable.


However, some remote rural areas have limited access to VA offices and medical centers, which could leave homeless rural Veterans with less access to HUD-VASH case management and counseling resources.


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