This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced they were awarding almost $1.25 million to help homeless veterans in South Florida.

The departments awarded $1,249,455 to more than 180 homeless veterans in the southern part of the Sunshine State. The funds came from  the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. According to HUD, the program “combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA” and “reduces veteran homelessness because it provides funding for both the housing and supportive services that are essential for ending homelessness for veterans, many of whom are living in unsheltered locations.”

“These vouchers are critical tools in helping communities effectively end homelessness among veterans,” HUD insisted.

U.S. HUD Sec. Ben Carson weighed in on the program.

“We have few responsibilities greater than making sure those who have sacrificed so much in service to their country have a home they can call their own,” said Carson. “The housing vouchers awarded today ensure homeless veterans nationwide have access to affordable housing and the critical support services from the VA.”

“Every day we work to eliminate homelessness for these brave men and women who served in the defense of our nation,” said HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett. “By providing housing assistance and case management services, we honor them and are significantly reducing the number of veterans living on the streets or in our shelters.”

HUD showcased the success of the program over the past decade.

“Since 2008, more than 93,000 vouchers have been awarded and approximately 150,000 homeless veterans have been served through the HUD-VASH program. More than 600 PHAs administer the HUD-VASH program, and this most recent award includes 22 additional PHAs, increasing HUD-VASH coverage to many communities. Rental assistance and supportive services provided through HUD-VASH are a critical resource for local communities in ending homelessness among our nation’s veterans.,” HUD noted.

“In the HUD-VASH program, VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) assess veterans experiencing homelessness before referring them to local housing agencies for these vouchers. Decisions are based on a variety of factors, most importantly the duration of homelessness and the need for longer term, more intensive support in obtaining and maintaining permanent housing. The HUD-VASH program includes both the rental assistance the voucher provides and the comprehensive case management that VAMC staff offers,” HUD added. “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, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”

 

Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com

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