Non-Elderly Disabled Category 2 Housing Choice Voucher Program: An Implementation and Impact Analysis. II. Ned2 Program Implementation

01/01/2014

Prior to the release of the HUD NOFA for the NED program, it was widely believed that demand for housing vouchers among low-income, non-elderly individuals admitted to institutions would be high, and that such vouchers could be issued and leased with relative ease. This belief was fueled by state MFP staff, who identified lack of affordable housing as a significant barrier to transitions from institutions to the community, and by the existence of long waiting lists for HCVs more generally. HUD and CMS expected PHAs to issue and lease the NED2 vouchers within one year of the award, by January 2012.

Most PHAs fell far short of this expectation, however. By December 2011, only 34 percent of the 948 NED2 vouchers had been issued and leased.9 Few involved in program implementation on the ground believe this was due to overestimation of need for the vouchers. Rather, program implementation took longer than expected, and the voucher application and housing search processes proved far more challenging than PHAs and their partners anticipated. Gaining an understanding of these challenges may help HUD identify ways to improve the design of the program and better align its goals with what is actually involved in implementing a voucher program targeted to NED individuals who are residing in institutions.

In this chapter, we briefly describe the methodology we used to conduct the process evaluation and then present data on the number of vouchers issued and leased from June 2011 through the summer of 2012, overall and by site. We then examine and compare how the NED2 program was implemented across the sites by describing how PHAs and state HHS/MFP agencies carried out its major components--cross-agency coordination, staff training, outreach to and recruitment of potential applicants, referral and application processes, housing search assistance, and special accommodations. We conclude by identifying common barriers to, and facilitators of, higher voucher issuance and lease rates, the factors that appear to explain variation in these rates early in the implementation process, and some key lessons learned.

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