HUD Allocates $58 Million To Help Homeless Veterans
In arnjoint statement last week, Veterans Administration (VA) Secretary Eric K.rnShinseki and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announcedrnthe expansion of the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH). The program will use local public housingrnagencies to channel $58.6 million to rental assistance specifically targeted tornhomeless veterans. This is the firstrnphase of a program first implemented in 2008 that will ultimately invest $75rnmillion to support the needs of homeless veterans. The current round of fundingrnis designed to provide housing and other assistance to over 7,700 veterans andrntheir families. </p
HUDrnexpects to announce a second set of grants that will provide another 1,355rnrental vouchers and 400 project-based vouchers by the end of the summer. The current round of funding will supply voucherrnmoney to 197 local agencies. Most of the grants are small, covering 15 to 200rnrecipients and are allocated based on a variety of factors including thernnumbers of reported homeless veterans in the area and the community's proximityrnto a local Veteran's Administration Medical Center (VAMC). Local public housing agencies that administerrnHUD's Housing Choice voucher Program (HCV) manage HUD-VASH in partnership with 132rnparticipating VAMCs. The housing agencyrnand medicals centers work together to identify veterans, determine eligibility,rnand locate suitable housing. Thernvouchers are used to rent privately owned housing and provide at least 70rnpercent of the rental cost. In additionrnto rental assistance the vets receive supportive services and case managementrnthrough the medical centers.</p
Becausernof the price disparity among local rental markets, the value of vouchers variesrnwidely from one housing agency to the next. rnThe program costs range from around $3,100 for each “unit” ofrnservice to over $14,000; the average is $7,609. </p
In announcing the new funding,rnShinseki, a retired four-star general and former Army Chief of Staff said, “Today, thernDepartments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and HUD are making a critical, long-termrninvestment toward ending homelessness among veterans. The most effective option to providingrnveterans permanent shelter is HUD-VA Supportive Housing — HUD-VASH — thernNation's largest permanent housing initiative for Veterans. We owe every manrnand woman, who has worn our Nation's military uniforms, a level of courage andrndetermination that matches theirs as we work to end veteran homelessness.rnHUD-VASH is immensely important and effective to reaching our goal.”</p
“Though they servedrnand sacrificed so much for our country, too many of our veterans findrnthemselves on the streets and in homeless shelters,” said Donovan.rn”Thankfully, these vouchers will provide a more permanent solution tornhousing and services these veterans need.”</p
The HUD-VASH program wasrncreated by the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act which allows HUD to waivernor specify alternative requirements for any provision of any statute orrnregulation that HUD administers in connection with the program in order torneffectively deliver assistance. This isrnthe third year HUD is supporting the housing and service needs of homelessrnveterans across America through HUD-VASH with a total investment of $225rnmillion that will sustain approximately 30,000 rental assistance vouchers.</p
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