Many state and local policymakers recognize that the lack of affordable housing is a barrier to improving outcomes for special populations.
These special populations included people with disabilities or histories of homelessness.
With federally-funded rental assistance hard to come by, some states and localities use their own resources to target rental assistance to special populations.
While these programs are often small, they help advance state or local initiatives to improve health and other outcomes by addressing housing stability.
CBPP conducted qualitative research recently published by Cityscape, a publication from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, about how such programs operate, who they serve, how they’re funded, and advocacy efforts that shaped them.
Webinar participants will hear our key findings and learn details from state experts working directly with their own rental assistance programs.
Cityscape reported that “New Jersey’s Rental Assistance Program (RAP) was created in part as a temporary stopgap at a time when funding for federal vouchers had stalled.” New Jersey’s RAP started with $10 million/year in the early 2000s and now receives $41,300,000/year.
The program administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) targets the general homeless population along with households with individuals with disabilities and children. Some optional services are available. The program offers a total of 3,883 rental units both tenant based and project based assistance, but most is tenant based.
The State of New Jersey also offers a supportive housing program that provides 2,500 units for populations with mental illness or a substance abuse disorder. Available services to supportive housing tenants include tenancy supports and peer support. The supportive housing program is funded at $20,000,000/year.
CBPP Policy Analyst Anna Bailey writes in an August 13 blog post, “While we need to learn more about how these state and local programs impact health outcomes and costs, they can serve an important role in quickly addressing the housing needs of a subset of communities’ most vulnerable members, all while furthering other state and local priorities.”