We reviewed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD), Office of Public and Indian Housing’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program regarding HUD’s implementation and monitoring. We initiated our review because there had been no prior Office of Inspector General reviews of the HUD-VASH program. Our objective was to determine whether HUD’s implementation and monitoring of the program was adequate.
HUD adequately implemented and monitored its HUD-VASH program. However, the HUD-VASH vouchers were not fully used because of challenges in getting veterans initially into housing and the significant turnover after lease-up. These challenges required a higher number of referrals from VA to use all available vouchers. The HUD-VASH program has yet to be used to its full capacity. In 2013, only 76 percent of vouchers were leased. In addition, the overall goal of the program is to serve veterans and their families. Although focusing a high percentage on chronically homeless veterans was commendable, it contributed to less veterans being housed, as it narrowed the pool of referral participants to those that tend to be more difficult to house. Other aspects of the program impacting its success included the lack of suitable housing and the lack of resources for move-in expenses.
We recommend that HUD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Housing and Voucher Programs continue working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase referrals to HUD’s VASH program, collaborate with VA to reevaluate the target percentage of chronically homeless veterans so that a higher number of homeless veterans can be served, and continue efforts to find consistent additional resources for move-in costs.