Skip to main content

Using Emergency Housing Vouchers to Address Homelessness

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the heightened risks for people experiencing homelessness, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 appropriated funding for 70,000 emergency housing vouchers (EHVs). The EHV program was an unprecedented opportunity to rapidly house a significant number of people experiencing or at immediate risk of homelessness in the private housing market, but so far only two-thirds of available vouchers have been successfully used.

A new commentary Using Emergency Housing Vouchers to Address Homelessness explores the successes and challenges of the program nationally, followed by a deeper look at approaches California jurisdictions have taken to overcome these challenges.  As of February 2023, approximately 30,000 households had received a voucher but were still looking for housing and more than one fifth of Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) that were awarded EHVs had leased less than half. The authors found that success with leasing vouchers varies widely by state.

The analysis shares strategies—based on interviews with PHAs, local homelessness systems, and direct service providers in California—to overcome three key challenges: finding eligible households, locating available units, and recruiting landlords. In addition, the analysis has broader lessons to improve the nation’s Housing Choice Voucher program.

Read the full commentary on our website here. 

Related Articles

Modeling Inclusionary Zoning’s Impact on Housing Production in Los Angeles: Tradeoffs and Policy Implications

A new report, authored by Shane Phillips at the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and published by the…

Comparing ADU Permitting Time Inside and Outside the Coastal Zone

Author: Quinn Underriner California legislators are looking for a variety of ways to streamline building across California to help the…

2024 Legislative Preview: Housing and Homelessness Legislation Amid New Leadership and Budgetary Challenges

In a year of new leadership in the California legislature and significant budgetary hurdles, California's 2024 legislative session proves to…

Housing + Climate Policy: Building Equitable Pathways to Sustainability and Affordability

There is an urgent need for integrated, complementary housing and climate policies that tackle the intertwined challenges of environmental sustainability,…