When the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) wanted to assist veterans who have been chronically homeless in accessing housing with their HUD-VASH vouchers quickly, they created the “VASH-Plus” Program.
Partnering with the local Continuum of Care, led by the DC Department of Human Services, and managed by The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, DCHA eliminated existing barriers to housing, including multiple documentation requirements and strict deadlines in the application and lease-up processes. They created a customized web-based project management system that allows all partners to exchange information. As a result of their efforts, the average time from referral to lease-up was reduced from six months to one month.
DCHA did not require Moving To Work (MTW) status with HUD to implement this program. While it did require additional resources in the inspection department, the program ultimately saved time in the application process since applications were substantially complete at the time of submission.
DCHA offers this advice to other PHAs looking to expedite lease-ups for HUD-VASH vouchers, “We feel this program has worked well, and this can be evidenced by the fact that all VASH vouchers were utilized. The key to successfully implementing such an effort is to have a comprehensive database to share with all partners.”