We know that people with special needs are more likely to accept housing if there is not a “catch,” not a requirement that they “get help” or attend this or that. Secure in a home, putting down roots, they are then more likely to address their challenges. When they do, 80% of people stay housed.
Getting people with special needs housed in the first place is a challenge. There are special vouchers, called “Mainstream Vouchers,” for people who are disabled or elderly. These are different from Section 8 vouchers. In some parts of Texas, the waitlist is as short as six months.
The VA’s ‘Housing First’ Program
One such voucher is specifically for veterans: Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) provides the housing; the Department of Veterans Affairs provides the services. While nationwide the number of people who are homeless has increased 5% since 2017, homelessness among veterans has decreased by 17%, partly due to this program, called HUD-VASH.
In some areas, this has been wildly successful. Over just two years the number of homeless veterans in the Denver area has been reduced by 30% according to Ben Kesling’s article in the February 15, 2023 Wall Street Journal: The VA Program That Has Homelessness Down Among Veterans
A description of the HUD-VASH program can be found at www.va.gov/homeless/hud-vash.asp.
Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, CELA, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.