MIAMI (PRWEB) May 30, 2013
Approximately 145 homeless Veterans living on the streets and in shelters in South Florida will soon find a permanent place to call home. U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced today that HUD will provide $60 million to local public housing agencies across the country to provide permanent supportive housing to homeless veterans, many of whom are living with chronic disabling conditions.
The supportive housing assistance announced today is provided through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA. Since 2008, a total of 48,385 vouchers have been awarded and 42,557 formerly homeless veterans are currently in homes because of HUD-VASH.
Donovan and Shinseki announced this additional support for homeless veterans in an address to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Annual Conference today in Washington. Find out how much of this assistance will help homeless veterans in your area.
“Our veterans have answered the call of duty. That’s why our nation has its own duty – to help homeless servicemen and women rejoin the very communities they have given so much to protect,” said Donovan. “These grants make it possible to help more veterans obtain housing, bringing us steps closer to our goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.”
“These HUD-VASH vouchers are a critical resource to accomplish our shared goal of ending Veterans’ homelessness in 2015,” Shinseki said. “With the continued support of President Obama, Congress, and our community partners, we will end homelessness among Veterans and provide these brave men and women with the earned care and benefits that help them live productive, meaningful lives.”
“By working with our local partners, we’ve been able to help thousands of Veterans leave the streets in South Florida,” said Paul Russo, Director of the Miami VA Healthcare System. “These additional vouchers can only help our efforts to help all Veterans in South Florida find permanent housing.”
HUD-VASH is a critical part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to end Veteran and long-term chronic homelessness by 2015. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness serves as a roadmap for how the federal government will work with state and local communities to confront the root causes of homelessness, especially among former servicemen and women. HUD’s annual “point in time” estimate of the number of homeless persons and families for 2012 found that veteran homelessness fell by 7.2 percent (or 4,876 people) since January 2011 and by 17.2 percent since January 2009. On a single night in January 2012, 62,619 veterans were homeless.
The grants announced today are part of $75 million appropriated this year to support the housing needs of homeless veterans. Local public housing authorities provide rental assistance to homeless veterans while nearby VA Medical Centers (VAMC) offer supportive services and case management. This is the first round of the 2013 HUD-VASH funding. HUD expects to announce more HUD-VASH funding this summer.
VAMCs work closely with homeless veterans then refer them to public housing agencies for these vouchers, based upon a variety of factors, most importantly the duration of the homelessness and the need for longer term more intensive support to obtain and maintain permanent housing. The HUD-VASH program includes both the rental assistance the voucher provides and the comprehensive case management that VAMC staff provides.
Veterans participating in the HUD-VASH program rent privately owned housing and generally contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. VA offers eligible homeless veterans clinical and supportive services through its medical centers across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available at http://www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s Email List.
VA is the federal government’s second-largest cabinet office. Secretary Shinseki has outlined three key priorities for the department: increase Veteran access to VA services and benefits, eliminate the disability claims backlog, and end Veteran homelessness. VA provides health care to more than 6 million people each year, in 91 million outpatient visits and 960,000 hospitalizations. This year, VA will provide over $1 billion in specialized homeless program funding, more than $58 billion annually in disability pay and pensions to 4.5 million Americans, $10 billion in educational assistance, $1 billion for home loans and $2.6 billion for life insurance. More information about VA is available at http://www.va.gov.