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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Housing Help For Homeless Veterans

As the Fourth of July approaches we have a post from guest writer Brandon Fischer of the VA Mortgage Center and AllMilitary.com, on a subject not covered before on this blog. I thought it was an appropriate theme as we celebrate the day our country was founded, and consider the priceless quality our freedom.

fireworksheadroomAs we honor those who have sacrificed in service to our country this July 4, here’s a sobering statistic to consider: Veterans account for nearly a quarter of the country’s homeless population.

The federal government took a big step forward last month to help those who served get back on their feet. About 8,000 homeless vets will receive permanent housing assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs, agency officials announced last month. Public housing agencies across the country will receive almost $60 million in rental assistance to help get veterans off the streets.

Homeless veterans can take advantage of the funding through HUD’s rental assistance program, which partners with Veterans Affairs Medical Centers to get vets into local public housing units. The agencies plan to introduce even more funding for housing vouchers as the summer continues. “Though they served and sacrificed so much for our country, too many of our veterans find themselves on the streets and in homeless shelters,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a news release. “Thankfully, these vouchers will provide a more permanent solution to housing and services these veterans need.”

The housing program funding is part of a greater, $75 million commitment to helping homeless veterans nationwide. VA Medical Centers already work with veterans to provide support and case management. Case managers there will work with local housing agencies to find veterans who might be eligible for the housing benefits.

Veterans who utilize the program live in private housing and typically spend no more than 30 percent of their income on rent. To learn more about local opportunities, HUD provides individual state information for your use. “The Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and HUD are making a critical, long-term investment toward ending homelessness among veterans,” VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said in a news release. “We owe every man and woman who has worn our nation's military uniforms a level of courage and determination that matches theirs as we work to end veteran homelessness.”