The HUD-VASH Program: Helping Homeless Veterans
War can have a traumatic effect on those that serve our country. Emotional and physical battle scars can render veterans unable to maintain their jobs, their family lives, and sometimes even daily tasks. Sadly, many veterans also lose their homes as a result of their post-service wounds and instability. To help veterans in need, many programs have been established through the Department of Veterans Affairs. One such program is the HUD-VASH program.
What is HUD-VASH?
The HUD-VASH was established in 1992 as a joint venture between the VA and Department of Housing and Urban Development. It was established to solve the chronic homelessness of many veterans. Patterned to simulate Section 8, HUD-VASH provides housing assistance to veterans in need, those deemed as excessively vulnerable and at high risk for transient behavior. What this means is that these individuals usually have poorer rental histories, live on very fixed incomes, are older, and also have higher rates of mental or emotional distress.
How Does The Program Work?
Once accepted via an application process, every participant in the program is assigned a caseworker. The caseworker helps create a housing stabilization plan and a set of personal goals. An important part of this plan is ensuring that the program participant also receives any needed mental, health, or substance abuse counselling. Similar to Section 8 caseworkers, these program stewards meet regularly with the veteran participant to ensure they are meeting their goals and attending necessary clinical or psychological evaluations. An important part of the assistance provided is helping the veteran participant identify patterns in their life or behavior that are preventing them from maintaining a stable living environment. Many times, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a primary culprit.
How is HUD-VASH Different?
While there are other VA programs designed to help homeless veterans and provide various continuous care elements, the HUD-VASH enrolls the largest percentage of veterans who have experienced long-term or chronic homelessness. This equates to approximately 85,000 veterans, and veteran families as of the end of 2015. One of the biggest distinctions of this program is that there is not an income requirement for the veteran to receive aid; however, typically the caseworker will immediately work with the participant to get stable work if there is no income. Another notable difference is that sobriety is not required. Landlords often have several rules about providing housing to those with substance abuse, but the requirements of the program do not require sobriety to be eligible.
The HUD-VASH is a great program that provides valuable assistance to many veterans that do not have the means to help themselves. If you or a veteran you know need housing assistance, call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET.
When you call:
- You will be connected to a trained VA responder.
- The responder will ask a few questions to assess your needs.
- If you’re a veteran, you may be connected with the Homeless Program point of contact at the nearest VA facility.
Other options to help pay for housing?
Another option for those looking for financial assistance to help pay for housing is the Aid and Attendance pension benefit. This benefit can help veterans and spouses pay for costs of care, such as an assisted living or nursing home. To look into eligibility for this benefit, please use the eligibility calculator.