What is the HSS Initiative?

As part of Virginia's commitment to ensure the full implementation of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Olmstead decision, the state has launched an intensive community engagement initiative to increase integrated community based housing with supportive services in the communities with the largest number of individuals impacted by the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement. The Commonwealth of Virginia is actively working to increase access and availability of integrated and independent housing options for individuals with a developmental disability (DD).

 

In January 2015, Virginia launched the Housing and Supportive Services (HSS) initiative in three regions (Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Richmond) to enhance the local housing infrastructure and develop systems that connect potential tenants with housing providers.

Four regional community teams across Virginia are executing local action plans to increase the number of Virginians with DD living in independent integrated community settings. 

The Virginia Peninsula region was represented by the cities of Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, and the counties of James City and York.

The Richmond region was represented by the cities of Petersburg and Richmond and the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, and New Kent.

The Northern Virginia region was represented by the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William.

The Southside region was represented by the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.

Who does the HSS Initiative serve?

The HSS Initiative is targeted to individual adults 18 and over, in the Settlement Agreement Population, with DD Waiver Services or who are on the DD Waiver Waiting List.

The HSS Rental Assistance programs are for individuals to live independently from their families in housing of their choice. Individuals who meet the criteria above and are interested in pursuing independent housing should contact their Support Coordinator or Case Manager to learn more about independent housing options and resources.

What type of housing does the HSS Initiative support?

  • Find a unit you want,

  • Get approved for leasing by owner or landlord.

  • Unit must be affordable,

  • Rent and utility obligation cannot exceed 40% of your adjusted gross income.

  • The housing unit selected must meet an acceptable level of health and safety,

  • Unit selected must also pass a HUD approved inspection.

Roles

Everyone has a role to play in this process. The individual shows interest in living in their own home. The individual then must communicate with his/her case manager to be referred to the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) for Rental Assistance.  DBHDS will determine if the individual meets the criteria to be included in the Settlement Agreement Population. Once eligibility of the necessary criteria is determined, DBHDS will refer individuals to the  Public Housing Agency in the locality that the individual wants to live, based on availability. The individual must meet with the Housing Agency to be approved for the Rental Assistance Program at the local level. Once the individual has been approved for rental assistance, the individual is able to find a place that he or she would like to live - within the housing requirements. Once a Housing Agency approves an eligible person's housing unit, the individual/tenant and the landlord sign a lease. At the same time, the landlord and the Housing Agency sign a housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone -- tenant, landlord and Housing Agency -- has obligations and responsibilities under the Rental Assistance Program. And NO!!!!! This does not take a huge amount of time. From the time of the initial referral to DBHDS by the case manager to signing and moving in, it could take 2 - 3 months, depending upon whether an appropriate housing unit is available where the individual wants to live. And remember - there are people to help along the way - the case manager, family members, and the Housing Agency staff!

Tenant
  • Sign a lease for at least one year,

  • Pay a security deposit if required,

  • Comply with lease and program requirements,

  • Pay your rent on time,

  • Maintain your unit in good condition, and

  • Notify the housing authority of any changes in income or family composition.

Landlord
  • Provide and maintain decent, safe, and sanitary housing at a reasonable rent and

  • Provide services agreed to as part of the lease and the contract with the housing agency.

Housing Agency
  • Provide assistance payments to the landlord on behalf of  the tenant,

  • Reexamine income and household composition at least once a year, and

  • Reinspect the unit in accordance with the admin policy

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HOUSING ASSESSMENT AND HOUSING RESOURCE REFERRAL FORM
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       DBHDS Housing Assessment and Referral Form

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