Numerous housing assistance programs located all throughout the country aim to reduce the large number of homeless veterans in the U.S. and help them find permanent housing.
Government programs managed by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) provide public and affordable housing options to veterans. There are also nonprofit organizations that aim to promote housing stability in the veteran population. They often work hand in hand with at-risk veterans to take them from transitional housing into permanent housing.
Many housing assistance programs also offer clinical services to veterans, many of whom suffer from substance abuse and mental health issues. The services seek to help veterans toward recovery so they can begin to build and maintain a sustainable life. Below, you will find an overview of the housing assistance programs available to veterans at the local and federal level.
There are several housing assistance programs available to service members. Some cater specifically to veterans, while others have a wider range of eligibility requirements. However, both can provide the help homeless veterans need to get permanent housing.
HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8, is a great resource for homeless veterans who are struggling to find permanent housing. Through this government housing assistance program, veterans receive a voucher that will be used to pay for the cost of rent. Beneficiaries are able to select the housing unit of their choice, as long as the residence meets the program’s requirements. From there, the Public Housing Authority will pay all or a percentage of the rental cost directly to the property owner. The remaining amount may fall on the beneficiary to pay. In some cases, you may purchase a home using the voucher.
HUD also has a program catered specifically toward single veterans and those with families. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Housing (VASH), HUD-VASH seeks to provide housing assistance and clinical services to veterans. The program targets homeless veterans who may suffer from substance abuse and mental health issues. By working with an assigned case manager, veterans can receive assistance in finding and sustaining permanent housing units. They also gain access to health care and counseling programs to build a sustainable life.
To determine eligibility, the program looks at whether veterans meet the requirements to qualify as homeless, as defined in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. There are also income and asset limits set for applicants by the PHA. During their time in the program, veterans must participate in daily supportive services that seek to promote their recovery and wellbeing. Along with other housing assistance programs, it is managed on a national level. However, veterans in need can speak with a local case manager by contacting HUD-VASH directly. The program will then redirect veterans to the appropriate local center. In some cases, the programs will place applicants on a waiting list until options become available.
HUD also has public housing options for eligible applicants. Public housing projects are owned and managed by the government and provide rental properties at a reduced cost for low-income families. This can include apartments, single-family homes and townhouses. The tenant pays a percentage of the cost which can range between 10 and 30 percent of their monthly income. To qualify, applicants must meet the annual gross income limits set by the state. Low income is usually qualified as 80 percent of the median income for the area and 50 percent as very low. Additional areas of review will include:
A HUD representative may request other documents such as birth certificates and tax returns. However, it’s on a case-by-case basis.
Another veterans housing assistance program is the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. As a government funded entity, it provides grants to local organizations who can provide financial support to veterans who are at risk of losing their homes. For homeless veterans, programs like SSVF, can also present alternative housing options that may be more suitable to meet veterans’ needs. You can find SSVF agencies in several locations nationwide. By working with a case manager who reaches out to local organizations, veterans can quickly move themselves and their family to another residence. Then, they will work together to find stable housing opportunities in the area. Through the program, which has served over 150,000 veterans, over 80 percent of veterans found permanent housing. To qualify, applicants may have to provide proof of veteran status and income. Homeless veterans may also have to certify their current housing status to qualify.
There are also veteran assistance programs that cater to disabled veterans. The Adaptive Housing Grants program offers funding to veterans who need financial assistance to make home modifications, enabling them to live more independently. The grant will allow disabled veterans to purchase, build or change a home to meet their needs. There are two types: Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) and Special Housing Adaptation (SHA). The first allows residents to build a home to be specially adapted based on the veteran’s needs. Whereas the other focuses on adapting an existing home. Eligible applicants may receive up to three grants in one fiscal year of up to $16,000. To qualify for the SAH, veterans must meet both of the following requirements:
As for the SHA grant, eligible veterans must be blind in both eyes with 20/200 visual acuity or less, have severe burn or respiratory injuries or have loss or loss of use of both hands. For both grants, the veterans must plan to live at the resident permanently or for an extended period of time.