For the first time, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and VA today awarded $5.9 million in grants to 26 tribes to offer a permanent home and supportive services to Native American Veterans who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. The Tribal HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (Tribal HUD-VASH) Program is a demonstration program that will combine $5.9 million in rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA to serve 500 Native American Veterans.
HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced the winners in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the winter meeting of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes.
“By targeting resources directly to tribes, we can better honor the service and sacrifice of Native American Veterans who now need a roof over their heads,” said Castro. “These heroes deserve hope for a brighter future, and by offering permanent housing solutions, combined with needed services and case management, we can work with tribes to end Veteran homelessness.”
HUD invited 30 eligible tribes to seek Tribal HUD-VASH vouchers to help house and serve hundreds of Native American Veterans who are currently experiencing homelessness or at extreme risk of becoming homeless. Twenty-six tribes, from Alaska to New Mexico, will deliver and manage the housing vouchers among their members who need them, on tribal lands.
“Targeting HUD-VASH vouchers to Veterans living on tribal lands opens new opportunities for helping Native American Veterans exit homelessness as quickly as possible” said VA Secretary Bob McDonald. “We are pleased that recent statutory changes to the HUD-VASH program made it possible to award these vouchers for use within Indian Country, where Native American Veterans have existing support systems that can be aided by those provided under the HUD-VASH program to help the Veterans remain stably housed.”
Since 2008, more than 79,000 vouchers have been awarded and approximately 103,000 homeless Veterans have been served through the broader HUD-VASH program. Rental assistance and supportive services provided through HUD-VASH are a critical resource for local communities in ending homelessness among our nation’s Veterans. In FY2015, Congress authorized funding for a demonstration program in order to expand the HUD-VASH program into Indian Country and directed HUD to coordinate with Indian Tribes, tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs), and other appropriate tribal organizations on the design of this program, and to ensure the effective delivery of housing assistance and supportive services to eligible Native American Veterans.
The Tribal HUD-VASH Program will provide rental assistance and supportive services to Native American Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness living on or near a reservation or other Indian areas. HUD is making available $5.9 million in grant funding to Indian Tribes and TDHEs to fund rental assistance and associated administrative fees. Indian Tribes and TDHEs participating in this program will partner with VA to provide healthcare assistance to eligible Native American Veterans.