HUD’s Office of Native American Programs: Request for comments on expansion of Tribal HUD-VASH

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is planning to expand the Tribal HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (Tribal HUD-VASH) program. In accordance with HUD’s Government-to-Government Tribal Consultation Policy, this letter invites comments from tribal leaders on ideas to expand the program.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 provided $7.0 million for the Tribal HUD-VASH program to fund renewal and new grants. In September 2018, HUD awarded $3.6 million of the $7.0 million to fund renewal grants to the existing Tribal HUD-VASH program recipients. HUD would like to award the remaining $3.4 million to fund new grants to both existing and new recipients that are eligible to receive block grants under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996.

When considering how HUD should expand the program, please consider the following:

  1. HUD is considering awarding a portion of the funding to the existing 26 Tribal HUD-VASH recipients that have the capacity to house additional veterans. Do you have any concerns with this approach?
  2. HUD is considering making new awards based on a competition, rather than a selection process, as was the case for the original Tribal HUD-VASH awards. Do you have any concerns with this approach?
  3. HUD will award new funding based, in part, on need. HUD is considering “need” criteria, such as available housing stock, the proximity of a local VA medical center, and the number of veterans who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. What other factors should HUD consider as “need” criteria?
  4. To evaluate “need,” HUD may seek information from applicants on the number of veterans who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. Does your Tribe currently have a way of accurately identifying or estimating the number of veterans who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless in your community who would qualify for the program? If so, please describe and provide any relevant information that may be helpful to HUD.
  5. HUD will also award new funding based, in part, on administrative capacity. HUD is considering “capacity” criteria, such as the applicant’s ability to deliver the resources and employ the skills necessary to implement the program. HUD is also considering criteria to demonstrate fiscal capacity as evidenced by HUD-ONAP monitoring or audit findings. What other factors should HUD consider as “capacity” criteria?
  6. HUD is considering emphasizing the creation of new housing when making new awards. How can HUD target assistance under this program to encourage the creation of new housing?

Please submit your comments within 30 days from the date of this letter to tribalHUDVASH@hud.gov or by postal mail to:

Hilary Atkin, Acting Director, Office of Grants Management

Office of Native American Programs

Department of Housing and Urban Development

451 7th Street SW, Room 4108

Washington, D.C. 20410

After the comment period has expired, HUD will consider and incorporate comments where feasible. Thank you for your attention to this important matter, and for your continued partnership and collaboration in the effective delivery of HUD’s programs.

Sincerely,

Heidi J. Frechette

Heidi J. Frechette
Deputy Assistant Secretary
for Native American Programs