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HUD:  Rhonda Siciliano (617) 994-8355
VA:  Victoria Dillon (202) 461-7893
HUD No.13-54
FOR RELEASE
Wednesday
August 21, 2013

 HUD & VA ANNOUNCE ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE TO HOUSE AND SERVE MASSACHUSETTS HOMELESS VETERANS  

WASHINGTON – The U.S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced the second round of funding to local public housing agencies in Massachusetts to provide permanent homes to homeless veterans.  Provided through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, the more than $1.4 million in funding announced today will provide critically needed housing and clinical services for 145 currently homeless veterans.  

Last May, HUD and VA announced $60 million in HUD-VASH vouchers across the country including $241,464.00 in Massachusetts.  The supportive housing assistance provided through theHUD-VASH Program combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA.

“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.”

“With programs like HUD-VASH, we will end veteran homelessness by 2015 in Massachusetts one veteran at a time,” said Barbara Fields, HUD New England Regional Administrator.

“The funding announced today will be provided to Boston Housing Authority, Cambridge Housing Authority and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development which will be working closely with nearby VA medical centers to identify qualified homeless veterans and to offer needed case management and support services. Boston Housing Authority received $517,924 to fund 50 vouchers and Cambridge Housing Authority received $169,647 to fund 15 vouchers. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development received a total of $721,920 to fund 80 vouchers to serve Veterans in Lowell, Haverhill, Bedford, and Pittsfield.”

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. 

“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.”

The grants announced today 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 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.

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  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 at www.hud.govand 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.