A new housing voucher program is one of many investments in housing access included in the American Rescue Plan. Since the pandemic, and its economic impact, have made matters so much worse for many Ohioans, we must ensure this new resource gets used quickly and effectively.

Unlike existing vouchers, the Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV) are targeted exclusively for currently homeless individuals and families. In total, 70,000 vouchers have been awarded to nearly 700 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in the U.S. Ohio has been awarded 1,522 vouchers dispersed among 16 different local Housing Authorities.

Housing authorities will work with local continuums of care, victim’s services agencies, and other community organizations to administer EHVs, accepting referrals from the coordinated entry system. The program includes incentives for housing authorities and homeless agencies to deploy vouchers quickly.

In addition to the vouchers, organizations will provide housing-related services and support including housing search assistance and related costs such as deposits or application fees; owner outreach and incentive payments; household items; moving expenses and more.

Vouchers were rewarded to areas where the EHVs eligible populations have the greatest need, while also taking into account PHA capacity and geographic diversity, including rural areas. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to homelessness prevention, this innovative investment will allow communities to target hard to reach community members and make a plan of action based on local capacity and culture.

The first round of selected PHA’s had until May 24, 2021 to accept, decline, or partially accept the awards. If there are remaining vouchers, additional PHAs may be contacted and offered the remaining voucher awards. The initial funding term runs July 1, 2021 through Dec 31, 2022, and may be spent by PHA’s up to 9/30/2023.

For more information about the Emergency Housing Voucher program, visit the HUD website.