New subsidy helps formerly homeless Veterans afford housing in high rent areas


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A new VA subsidy will help low-income and formerly homeless Veterans afford housing in high-rent communities.

The Shallow Subsidy initiative provides low-income Veterans a fixed rental subsidy for up to two years. The subsidy is available to Veterans who are enrolled in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program and live in communities characterized by high rates of homelessness and low availability of affordable housing. To encourage long-term self-sufficiency through employment, renters receive the subsidy for up two years, regardless of any increases in their household income.

Through a competitive application process, VA awards SSVF grants to private, non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives to provide eligible Veteran families with outreach, case management, and assistance in obtaining VA and other mainstream benefits that promote housing stability and community integration. SSVF has recently partnered with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program to co-enroll Shallow Subsidy participants in employment and training programs to help them become economically self-sufficient by the end of their two-year subsidy.

The Shallow Subsidy initiative represents the benefits of VA’s ongoing use of data to adjust programs based on evidence to promote the best possible outcomes for Veterans. VA created the Shallow Subsidy Initiative after several analyses of SSVF data revealed that intermediate-term rental subsidies would remove a key barrier to long term housing stability among homeless Veterans. For the life of the Shallow Subsidy Initiative, VA will collect and evaluate data on outcomes to ensure the initiative is producing the intended results.

“With the Shallow Subsidy initiative, we’re able to increase the likelihood of long-term housing stability among Veterans who were previously homeless or at risk of homelessness in communities with challenging rental markets,” said SSVF National Director John Kuhn. “The resources made available to eligible Veterans under this initiative enable them to afford rent and other household expenses while they secure job training, employment or other income and benefit resources before the shallow subsidy ends.”

Since 2011, SSVF has served over 800,000 people, including over 170,000 dependent children. Of those who exited the SSVF program to date, 84% found permanent housing; another 10% found safe, temporary housing.

SSVF was established in 2011 as the first VA-administered homeless prevention and rapid rehousing program to serve Veterans and their family members. In addition to the recurring SSVF grants already awarded, VA has also committed $50 million in nonrecurring awards to support shallow subsidies in the following communities:

  • California: Alameda (including Oakland), Contra Costa, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara
  • District of Columbia: Washington
  • Hawaii: Honolulu
  • Illinois: Cook County
  • New York: New York City and Bronx, Queens, Kings and Richmond counties
  • Washington: Seattle

Veterans who live in any of the targeted communities who wish to be considered for the program should visit the Homeless Programs Office at their local VA medical center or contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).

More Information

  • Visit the Shallow Subsidy FAQs to learn more about the initiative.
  • VA.gov/homeless has resources available for Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • The Get Involved webpage lists ways to help Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

VA’s Homeless Programs Office assists Veterans in obtaining permanent and sustainable housing with access to high-quality health care and supportive services.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. BJ DuCharme    

    Hi John Portilla; Please contact me directly for ways to help with your RV repairs. We belong to an RV full timers group that might be able to assist with funds and repairs.

  2. John Portilla    

    Hello:
    I hope your doing well. I am a disable vet, who lives with his family in a 21 year old Winnebago, in San Diego, Ca. I have been trying to find a safer, more permanent place to live. I qualified for the VASH program, but still could not afford the rents. Can this new program help me? My rating is 100%, and I’m the sole bread winner. The VA gives my wife a few dollars to take care of me, and we’re raising a beautiful 9 yr. old girl. My other alternative is to bring the RV up to code, but that would require a few thousand dollars, which I don’t have. I can afford a little over $1,000 a month, but rents are crazy here. I’ve been staying on military bases, and on the streets. I realize an apartment was out of reach using the VASH program. I can’t afford to borrow anymore money for repairs, or to upgrade to a slightly newer RV, at this time, banks won’t approve me, even though I have never missed a payment, for years now, but that would make life lot easier. I need roof repair, plumbing repair, generator repair, and leveling repairs. Thank you for the opportunity to explain my situation. If, there anything you can do for us, it would be greatly appreciated I’m not complaining, the VA has been great to me, and I will get us out of this situation. I just need a little help. A hand up, not a hand out. Thank you, once again.

    Respectfully,

    1. Katherine Rubie    

      Hi John. I saw your question posted here, but I think it would be better if you called the 800 number listed in the article. I see you are living in San Diego, which is one of the communities listed for this program. Call them. I’m sure they can help.

  3. Judith Ann Gage    

    This is a great program but as a homeless veteran it is kind of hard to get one of these programs if you are not in a veterans shelter. A shelter is the reason i am homeless again. I am not in a shelter but on a friends couch i am not doing the shelter thing again. Please help

    1. Katherine Rubie    

      Hi Judith.

      I’m not sure why you are saying one can only benefit from these programs if you are in a shelter. I was homeless and couch surfing, but was never in a shelter – VA or otherwise – and I was able to enroll in the VA HUD-VASH program and get into affordable housing. You might want to check back with your local VA or call.

  4. Frank Helisek    

    I’m currently a homeless veteran in Pittsburgh. Could use as much help as available.

  5. James B Foster    

    The biggest thing that is missing here; great VA website and email support is great. Never talks about how corporate US loves the tax advantages of hiring a disabled Veteran. What’s not talked about is the pay disadvantage. Oh, sure we love to hire Veterans. But you have a retirement income so we won’t pay you the same as someone else with the similar experience. Period

  6. Teresa l Hanson    

    Would like to see financial help to help pay for creamation or embalming of vets that have passed away

  7. John Newman    

    Is this program available in Greeley, Colorado? I am also a convicted sex offender. Does this have anything to do with put me out of the program?

    1. August    

      Sex offenders do not qualify for HUD-VASH. In Portland the homeless veterans who are also registered sex offenders are shuffled from one jammed-packed prison-like group flop house to the next, with thousands of mandatory rules, restrictions, and stipulations no one could possibly follow, resulting in a never-ending cycle of homelessness, jail, flop house, and back to homelessness.

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