California Public Housing Agencies to Receive Millions to House Homeless Veterans

California receives more grant funds from U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) than any other state in the nation to help address the issue of veteran homelessness. The State got nearly $16 million, about 25 percent of the grant money going to local public housing agencies across the country. Florida was the second highest state with about $6 million, followed by Texas with about $5 million.

The supportive housing assistance 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 USDVA. 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.

“Caring for veterans who served and sacrificed to secure and preserve the freedoms we enjoy is our duty as a nation,” said CalVet Secretary Peter J. Gravett. “Providing the basic necessity of shelter is the very least we can do to ensure veterans live with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

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 nationwide.

The grants announced yesterday 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.

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.