The housing industry groups (PHADA, CLPHA, NAHRO, and the MTW Collaborative) wrote to HUD leadership on November 20, requesting that the Department take steps to improve utilization of HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers. VASH utilization is approximately 74 percent nationwide, compared to 85 percent for the general HCV program.
Under current VASH regulations, veterans must be referred from a VA Medical Center or a Designated Service Provider (DSP) to a housing authority to receive a voucher. Many HAs, however, do not receive enough referrals to utilize their available VASH vouchers. In a September 2021 Federal Register notice, HUD stated it would release additional guidance allowing housing authorities to serve as DSPs but, over two years later, the Department has not done so.
The letter asks the Department to expedite publishing guidance that allows HAs to serve as DSPs for VASH selection and intake. In the meantime, HUD should grant HAs individual waivers to do so. These actions would increase VASH utilization and meet the administration’s goals of reducing homelessness. In fact, achieving an 85 percent utilization rate for the VASH program – which would bring its utilization in line with the general HCV program – would provide housing to over 12,000 veteran households.