HUD and VA Partner on Permanent Housing Initiative for Vets

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have announced the availability of $78 million in HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) across the country, for more than 7,000 vouchers.

Through the HUD-VASH program, HUD and VA’s mission is to end homelessness by assisting veterans and their families in obtaining permanent and sustainable housing with access to quality healthcare and supportive services, and to ensure that homelessness is otherwise prevented.

“We want to put an end to veteran’s homelessness and the HUD-VASH program is one of our most valuable resources to help us reach that goal,” said HUD Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman. “HUD is committed to working with housing agencies and Veteran Affairs Medical Centers across the country to get veterans off the street and into apartments they can afford. We owe them that.”

The HUD-VASH program

The HUD-VASH program combines HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. VA provides these services for participating veterans at VA medical centers (VAMCs), community-based outreach clinics (CBOCs), through VA contractors, or through other VA designated entities.

“One veteran experiencing homelessness will always be one too many—and we will do everything in our power to ensure that Veterans get the safe, stable housing they deserve,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “These vouchers are a critical part of that effort, empowering VA, HUD, and our partners to provide more housing and wraparound services to more homeless and at-risk veterans. Together, we will not rest until Veteran homelessness is a thing of the past.”

Programs instituted by HUD, the VA, and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), the number of veterans experiencing homelessness has fallen by 5% since early 2020, and by 52% since 2010. Additionally, VA and HUD partnered to permanently house more than 46,000 homeless veterans in 2023, surpassing the calendar year goal by 22.5%.

Currently, there are more than 113,000 HUD-VASH vouchers being administered by 750-plus PHAs. Since 2008, HUD has issued new HUD-VASH vouchers every year. Additionally, more than 85,000 of those total vouchers are actively under lease by HUD-VASH veterans, with many additional veterans having been issued vouchers and currently searching for housing to lease.

Progress in sheltering the homeless

In May 2023, the White House and the USICH launched the ALL INside Initiative to address the homelessness crisis in targeted communities with high numbers of people living outside. Since then, USICH has worked with its federal agency partners to embed experts locally in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, and the governor’s office in California. The initiative aims to help communities cut the red tape that makes it difficult for people to access housing, healthcare, and other support networks. ALL INside builds on other Biden Administration efforts to specifically address unsheltered homelessness, such as $529 million in special unsheltered grants and vouchers awarded last year from HUD for 62 communities, including Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

“President Biden believes that every American deserves access to safe and affordable housing,” said Chair of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Domestic Policy Advisor to the President Neera Tanden. “The Biden-Harris Administration has taken unprecedented steps to address homelessness head-on, and this unique partnership illustrates the progress that can be made when federal, state, and local governments work together to increase access and lower barriers to housing.”

Enforcing homeowner protections

The VA recently issued guidance to encourage mortgage servicers to implement a targeted moratorium on foreclosures for veterans with VA-guaranteed loans through December 31, 2024. This will help veterans and their families stay in their homes beyond the end of the current foreclosure moratorium, which was set to end May 31.

This new, targeted foreclosure moratorium will help ensure that veterans and their families are able to stay in their homes while mortgage servicers implement the Veterans Affairs Servicing Purchase (VASP) program–a new tool for qualified veterans experiencing severe financial hardship. Through VASP, VA will purchase qualified veterans’ modified loans from their servicers and then place them in the VA-owned portfolio as direct loans–making the loans more affordable for veterans. VASP officially launched on May 31, and mortgage servicers must have it fully implemented by October 1, 2024.

The VA’s targeted foreclosure moratorium will apply to all VA-guaranteed loans unless:

  • The loan is secured by property that is vacant or abandoned
  • The servicer has documented that the borrower desires neither to retain homeownership nor avoid foreclosure
  • The servicer has not received a monthly payment for at least 210 days, and the borrower is not responding to the servicer’s outreach attempts
  • The servicer has evaluated the borrower for all home retention options but has determined that no home retention option, including VASP, or alternative to foreclosure will work for the borrower.

HUD continues to press onward in advancing opportunities by issuing a new final rule implementing portions of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA).

HUD’s new final rule aligns with and supports emerging national and local strategies to rapidly increase affordable housing supply, while ensuring families are able to successfully lease a decent, safe, and sanitary unit with tenant based or project-based voucher assistance. Among other significant updates, HUD’s new policies:

  • Allow for PBV assistance to be paired with manufactured housing
  • Establish local project-specific waiting lists to help families move into units more quickly
  • Codify important tenant protections for families in the areas of inspections and property and contract dispositions
  • Ensure families are able to find units in the local rental markets by providing PHAs additional flexibilities to increase rents.

“HUD is meeting the moment to address the nation’s affordable housing supply shortage. This Final Rule comprehensively modernizes our voucher programs to meet the needs of housing providers and deliver greater support for tenants,” said Todman. “This effort represents collaboration between HUD and our stakeholders to build more affordable housing and make existing housing more affordable.”

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Picture of Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 25-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, most recently serving as Editor-in-Chief for National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He graduated from the New York Institute of Technology, where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books, and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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