Based on the experience of the McKinney-Vento Shelter Plus Care program, which allows rental assistance to be provided to a service provider (or “sponsor”) on behalf of the formerly homeless tenant, some PHAs with MTW status have begun sponsor-basing Housing Choice Vouchers. MTW status is required to sponsor-base vouchers. HUD has proposed a limited program to allow non-MTW agencies to sponsor-base vouchers. However Congress has yet to provide its needed approval. Some PHAs administer other types of rental assistance funds (other than Housing Choice Vouchers), which also allow them provide sponsor-based assistance.
In a sponsor-based program, a nonprofit organization that works with people who are homeless administers a number of voucher functions on behaf of the PHA. A key goal of the sponsor-basing program is to affirmatively “screen-in” homeless households with service needs who would have very little chance of utilizing their Housing Choice Vouchers because of landlord screening criteria. As a result, sponsor-basing allows PHAs to serve the homeless individuals in their communities who have the highest level of need for housing and services in order to access and remain in housing.
One of the most prominent features of a sponsor-based program is its inherent integration of rental assistance with supportive services to help the resident stabilize in housing and thrive in the community. The combination of affordable housing with flexible, consumer-oriented service delivery has been proven to be a highly effective tool in ending homelessness and improving the lives of highly vulnerable people. It is important that the PHA select a high quality service provider to serve as the sponsor, who has a history of working with landlords or managing properties serving people with special needs. Resident participation in any specific services should remain voluntary and not be a condition of tenancy. For more information, click here to view CSH’s latest position on potential sponsor-based legislation.
Learn from other PHAs
A handful of PHAs have developed successful sponsor-basing programs using either Housing Choice Vouchers under their MTW status or using local funds, including the King County Housing Authority, Cambridge Housing Authority, District of Columbia Housing Authority and Fresno Housing Authority. These programs serve as useful guides for program expansion. Please click on the icon below to access profiles of two of these PHAs.
King County Housing Authority’s sponsor-based program for chronically homeless individuals in a suburban environment.
San Diego’s sponsor-based program for highly-vulnerable households.
Go to the next section to learn about coordinated funding.