Texas Homeless Network

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Empowering Hope: Voucher Program Leads 928 People to Safe, Permanent Housing

Empowering Hope: Voucher Program Leads 928 People to Safe, Permanent Housing

By: Billy Streu

After the challenges of the pandemic, the Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) program emerged as a guiding light, helping Texans find their way out of housing insecurity. Put into action as part of the American Resue Plan Act of 2021, this program aimed to offer hope for those facing homelessness in the wake of COVID-19. Let’s walk through how this amazing program has been that guiding light for Texans in need.

Celebrating Success: Making a Difference One Household at a Time

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and Texas Homeless Network (THN) worked together to overcome numerous housing barriers and connect 398 vouchers to households in need across the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care (TX BoS CoC). Along with referral partners and advocacy organizations, the partnership found success in bridging gaps and reaching those most in need of assistance.

By the program’s end, 398 households comprising 928 individuals were successfully housed. This achievement showcases the real impact of collective action in addressing housing insecurity. This program has shown us that it is possible to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in a state as big as Texas.


Shining Bright: Empowering Survivors and Surpassing Expectations

One of the most radiant outcomes of the EHV program in the TX BoS CoC was its impact on survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Surpassing initial expectations, more than 60% of the EHV households were survivors. Guidance from Texas Council on Family Violence and other Victim Service Providers helped the voucher program lead these survivors to a brighter and safer future.


Lessons Learned: Addressing Disparities and Overcoming Barriers

While the EHV program achieved remarkable success, a study of the program revealed disparities among certain sub-populations, such as unaccompanied youth and non-binary/transgender individuals. These insights will help guide efforts to chart a course for greater equity and inclusion in future programs.

Additionally, various barriers were encountered throughout the program, including financial debt, prior eviction and criminal backgrounds, and discrimination against households with vouchers. These learned lessons have revealed several recommendations for future housing programs in Texas, including:

        1. Making the overall process more efficient 
        2. Fostering more partnerships with advocacy organizations to increase equity
        3. Increasing funding for landlord incentives, deposits, and other move-in assistance to empower tenants


Looking Ahead: Building on Success and Creating a Hopeful Future

As we celebrate the accomplishments of the EHV program, let us also look to the future. By learning from both successes and challenges, we can continue to improve our efforts to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Texas.

This voucher program shows us the power of collaboration and dedication in confronting housing insecurity and injustice.

Through community partnerships, funding, and a commitment to equity, we can empower individuals and families to overcome challenges and flourish. Let us continue to work together towards a Texas where EVERYONE has a safe and permanent home.

 

Reference Note: Are you a service provider? 

Click here for a deeper dive of the technical aspects and overview in this recap of the voucher program

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Empowering Hope: Voucher Program Leads 928 People to Safe, Permanent Housing
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