Communities across the country are helping to raise awareness of Veteran homelessness so that millions of Americans can live better lives. Our Veterans can face a variety of stresses when they return home from service, including finding themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness. VA is doing its part to give Veterans and their families the help and services they need to get back on their feet.
VA has partnered with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to move homeless Veterans and their families into permanent supportive housing with case management and health care services. Called HUD-VASH—for HUD-VA Supportive Housing—the program combines rental assistance from HUD with VA’s proven case management and clinical services. These services are available to eligible homeless Veterans at local medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics across the country.
It’s a two-part program: While HUD provides Housing Choice Vouchers through local public housing authorities, VA hires dedicated case managers who, through intensive support, help homeless Veterans secure and maintain long-term housing. In allowing very low-income families to choose safe, decent, and affordable privately owned rental housing, the program provides a long-term solution for Veterans in need.
Veterans are offered the case management services they need for recovery from homelessness, including referrals to VA primary care as well as mental health or substance use treatment services, income assistance, employment supports, disability benefits, credit repair, and skills for money management.
VA feels that those who served this nation as Veterans should never find themselves on the streets. This month, do your part to help promote better lives for the Veterans who have served our country. If you know a Veteran who is homeless or at risk of being homeless, provide him or her with the number to the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838). The hotline connects homeless Veterans and Veterans at risk of becoming homeless and their families with the VA services and benefits they have earned.
Lisa M. Pape, LISW, currently serves as the National Director Homeless Programs for the Veterans Health Administration.