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Homeless Vets Get a New "Lease" on Life: HUD Provides Funding for Housing

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide $72.6 million to house more than 10,000 homeless veterans, it was announced last week.

The new program is a response to the distressing figures that 1 out of every 6 men and women in homeless shelters is a veteran. It's also part of the Obama Administration's commitment to ending vet and long-term chronic homelessness by 2015.

Public housing agencies in all 50 states will receive the $72.6 million to create permanent housing and provide case management.

Overall, the program represents an unprecedented collaboration between multiple federal agencies and local community organizations.

First among these collaborations is the agency providing the funds - HUD's Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing Program (HUD-VASH), a program administered by HUD, Veteran Affairs (VA), and local housing agencies.

In a statement, HUD Secretary Shaun Donavan credited the HUD-VASH with making progress toward ending vet homelessness through permanent housing, case management, and other supportive services. Annual “point in time” estimates of the number of homeless persons and families for 2011 revealed that veteran homelessness fell by nearly 12% (8,834 people) since January 2010.

The collaborating agencies also include VA Medical Centers (VAMC), which provide supportive services and case management to eligible homeless vets. VAMCs will be in charge of referring homeless vets to public housing agencies to receive permanent housing vouchers under this new plan.

Under the new program, qualifying homeless vets will receive vouchers depending on a variety of factors. Most important among these is the duration of the homelessness and the need for longer-term intensive support.

Participating vets will rent privately-owned housing with assistance from vouchers, and receive comprehensive care management from VAMC staff.

The new funds are part of a $75 million appropriation for Fiscal Year 2012 to support housing for homeless vets. This is the first of two rounds of funding, with the remainder expected to be announced by the end of the summer.

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