HUD and VA to provide permanent homes to 175 homeless vets
3rd June 2013 · 0 Comments
By Brittany N. Odom
United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans (VA), will provide permanent housing to approximately 175 homeless veterans in Louisiana.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, announced last week at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Annual Conference in Washington that HUD will provide $60 million to local public housing agencies across the country through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program in order to provide homeless veterans with permanent housing.
HUD-VASH will award the grants as part of $75 million appropriated this year to provide housing to homeless veterans. Four housing authorities in the State of Louisiana have been granted $997,037 in vouchers to be awarded to 175 veterans: the Housing Authority of New Orleans (90 vouchers), the Kenner Housing Authority (15 vouchers), the Rapides Parish Housing Authority (30 vouchers) and the Bossier Parish Section 8 Housing Authority (40 vouchers).
“Our veterans have answered the call of duty,” said Donovan. “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.”
Under the HUD-VASH program, local public housing authorities provide rental assistance to homeless veterans while VA Medical Centers (VMAC) across the United States, Guam and Puerto Rico offer case management, and other clinical and support services. VMAC refers homeless veterans to public housing agencies for housing vouchers, which allow them to rent privately-owned housing at typically no more than 30 percent of their income. Veterans’ eligibility to receiver a voucher is based on several factors, including the duration of the homelessness and the need for permanent housing.
At the Conference, both Donovan and Shinseki expressed that they believe the vouchers will allow HUD and the VA to achieve the primary goal of the HUD-VASH program: to end veteran and long-term chronic 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.”
“Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness” provides an outline to the Obama Administration’s commitment to working with state and local agencies in order to end homelessness by 2015, especially among veterans. According to HUD’s 2012 “point in time” estimate, the number of homeless veterans fell by 7.2 percent (or 4,876 people) from January 2011 and by 17.2 percent since January 2009.
Since 2008, a total of 48,385 vouchers have been awarded with 42,557 veterans placed in homes across the U.S. under the HUD-VASH program. The grants announced at the Conference in Washington are the first round of this year’s HUD-VASH funding, and it is expected that HUD will announce more funding this summer.
Donovan said, “These grants make it possible to help more veterans obtain housing, bringing us steps closer to our goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.”
This article originally published in the June 3, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.