Terner Center Report Highlights Lessons from Emergency Voucher Program
The Terner Center for Housing Innovation released a report that highlights the successes and challenges of the Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) program, which provided 70,000 vouchers during the pandemic to subsidize housing for people who were homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness. The EHV program was funded as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The report found that the roll out of the program was hampered by pandemic-related disruptions and the concurrent implementation of other emergency response programs. As of February 2023, only two-thirds of the vouchers had been successfully used—nearly 47,000 households exited or avoided homelessness, but another 30,000 were still looking for housing. In California, 63.3% of the EHVs had been leased as of February.
Several implementation challenges were noted: local homeless system coordination, tight housing markets, insufficient funding for needed wraparound/navigation services, and attracting landlords willing to participate in the program. The report concluded with recommendations, including:
- Prioritizing people who are already engaged with other programs and connecting them to EHVs
- Increasing the frequency and consistency of coordinating meetings between Public Housing Authority staff and Continuum of Care staff to streamline referrals and limit communication-related delays
- Implementing innovative approaches to navigation, helping people access the housing and services they need