HUD & VA AWARD MORE HOUSING VOUCHERS FOR HOMELESS VETS IN ALASKA
Today's award of 15 more HUD VASH vouchers means more than 200 homeless vets in Alaska now have resources to find affordable place to call home
ANCHORAGE - Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride announced today that HUD will provide an additional 15 HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD VASH) rental vouchers to provide veterans in Alaska who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Today's award was to the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to provide HUD VASH vouchers to homeless veterans receiving served by the Veterans Affairs Alaska Medical Center (VAMC). With these additional vouchers, there are now 210 HUD VASH vouchers available to help veterans find affordable, permanent housing in the private housing marketplace. The annual cost of the 15 additional vouchers awarded today is estimated to be $105,718.
"Every day we work to eliminate homelessness for those who served in the defense of our nation," said HUD Secretary Donovan. "HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs have forged an unprecedented and lasting partnership to make sure those who wore the uniform never face a life on the streets or in our shelters."
"These HUD-VASH vouchers are a vital tool in our effort to provide these brave men and women with the earned care and benefits that help them live productive, meaningful lives," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "So long as a single Veteran lives on our streets, we have work to do. But with the continued support of President Obama, Congress and our community partners, we will end homelessness among Veterans."
"When our soldiers and sailors come marching home, we should make sure they have one instead of being forced to live on the streets," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator McBride. "HUD VASH vouchers provide exactly that."
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 for Federal fiscal year 2013 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 fall.
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 on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDgov, on facebook at 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 www.va.gov.