Bennet, Hickenlooper, Crow Welcome VA Guidance to Help Homelessness Veterans

Guidance Follows Lawmakers’ Call to VA and HUD to Reduce Bureaucracy Keeping Veterans in Aurora from Accessing Assistance

Denver — Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, alongside Colorado U.S. Representative Jason Crow, welcomed guidance from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that will help public housing authorities (PHAs) screen and refer eligible veterans for the HUD-VA Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. In November 2023, Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Crow urged the VA and HUD to take swift action after hearing about the challenges facing the Aurora Housing Authority.

“We understand the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are working diligently to address the issue of veteran homelessness. Despite these crucial efforts, thousands of HUD-VA Supported Housing Program (HUD-VASH) vouchers still go unused each year,” wrote Bennet, Hickenlooper and Crow.

The HUD-VASH program combines HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the VA at medical centers and community-based outreach clinics. 

“In 2020, Congress directed HUD and the VA to issue guidance on how PHAs can become designated entities to screen and make referrals to HUD-VASH, bolstering this pipeline of support. As you finalize this guidance, service providers such as the Aurora Housing Authority remain unable to screen and refer veterans to the HUD-VASH program,” continued the lawmakers.

In November 2023, the Aurora Housing Authority had 137 HUD-VASH available vouchers — 45 of which were un-leased. Meanwhile, an estimated 40 to 50 veterans in Aurora experienced homelessness. Without this guidance, the Aurora Public Housing Authority was unable to screen for veteran eligibility and make referrals to the program.