This week, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) additional funding of $714,678 to provide permanent affordable housing to non-elderly persons with disabilities. HANO, one of three agencies in Louisiana to obtain the grant, will receive funding for 99 new Mainstream Housing Choice Vouchers to assist residents transitioning out of institutional or other separated settings, at serious risk or institutionalization, homeless, or those at risk of becoming homeless.
HUD’s Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program to ensure more disabled individuals and families are afforded housing and supportive services
“The additional funding HUD has awarded HANO will help meet the needs of our residents with disabilities, and vulnerable parts of our population at risk of homelessness. This is an important step forward,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
HUD’s Mainstream Voucher Program is a subset of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, established to help further the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act by helping persons with disabilities live in integrated communities. The program also encourages partnerships with health and human service agencies with a mission of coordinating voluntary services and support systems for individuals striving to live independently within communities.
HANO has partnered with Metropolitan Human Services District, UNITY of Greater New Orleans, and Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana, Inc. to conduct comprehensive outreach and referrals of non-elderly disabled residents. They will also assist with the housing application process and unit search, while certifying that modifications and other accommodations are met for each participating family or individual.
“HANO will utilize this additional allocation to expand its partnerships with supportive services organizations to serve some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said HANO Executive Director Gregg Fortner. “These vouchers present more opportunity for us to continue to give housing assistance and the necessary access to a variety of services for individuals with all types of disabilities to live productive lives.”
In addition to the Mainstream Program, HANO also administers an allocation of approximately 347 vouchers under the Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing (VASH) Program which provides housing assistance paired with essential supportive services for homeless and disabled veterans. Through the VASH partnership with the Southeastern Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, the agency continues to demonstrate its capacity to assist special needs populations in collaboration with other agencies, private property owners, and management companies. In the past, HANO has also obtained Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with Unity of Greater New Orleans, the New Orleans Equity and Inclusion Initiative, NO/AIDS Task Force, and The Advocacy Center of Greater New Orleans, further demonstrating its commitment to persons with disabilities by prioritizing housing and supportive services assistance for chronically homeless individuals and families with serious mental and physical disabilities.
As a part of the Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program, HUD awarded a total of $99 million to 285 public housing authorities across the country to serve an estimated 12,000 additional non-elderly persons with disabilities. HANO was one of only 18 Public Housing Authorities nationally to receive the highest award of 99 Mainstream vouchers. For more information on the program, visit www.hud.gov.