HUD-VASH Exit Study - Final Report
The HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program combines HUD’s housing choice vouchers, administered by public housing authorities (PHAs), with VA case management to offer homeless Veterans permanent supportive housing. The HUD-VASH Exit study, commissioned by HUD and VA, investigated HUD-VASH at four sites: Houston, TX; Los Angeles and Palo Alto, CA; and Philadelphia, PA. The study examined program implementation, the movement of Veterans from homelessness to being housed, and the nature of Veterans’ exits from HUD-VASH. To do this, the research team analyzed administrative data covering 2008 to 2014 at the four sites, and surveyed Veterans and conducted site visits (including interviews with staff and Veterans) between 2011 and 2014. As such the study captures HUD-VASH during a time of transformation. In 2008, HUD-VASH served fewer than 2,000 Veterans. By 2014, HUD-VASH was a major program that housed 53,000 Veterans and had served more than 80,000 Veterans. The study defined three HUD-VASH Veteran groups: (1) stayers (Veterans in the program for at least 600 days), (2) leased-up exiters (Veterans who exited after leasing up), and (3) nonleased exiters (Veterans who exited before accessing housing). “Exit” was defined as leaving VA case management as recorded in VA administrative data by case managers. The study finds that about half of the leased-up exiters left HUD-VASH for positive reasons such as accomplishing their goals or increased income, but that only a quarter of nonleased exiters had positive reasons for exit. Common negative reasons for exit included housing difficulties, loss of contact with the program, illness, incarceration, and non-compliance with program rules. Specific recommendations to ensure continued program effectiveness converge around (1) improving coordination of HUD and VA processes in HUD-VASH sites; (2) targeting financial resources for specific situations such as move-in, threat of eviction, and transitioning out of HUD-VASH; and (3) ensuring continuity of care for Veterans in the program.