NEW YORK – U. S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Adolfo Carrión, New York City Housing Authority Chairman John B. Rhea, and Michael A. Sabo, Network Director of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Integrated Services Network, today announced that 1,424 homeless veterans have found permanent housing in New York City under a joint HUD and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program that provides rental housing and support services to needy veterans. Since the program’s inception in 2008, 2,540 homeless veterans in New York State have found permanent housing. It is estimated that approximately 145,000 veterans nationwide experienced homelessness in 2010. HUD’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) combines a HUD Housing Choice Voucher with VA case management and supportive services.
“I am proud of the work we are doing to house homeless veterans. These men and women who have served and sacrificed so much for our country deserve nothing less from us,” said HUD Administrator Carrión. “Working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, we are doing our part to provide these veterans the housing and the tools they need to gain self-sufficiency. I can think of no better gift as we approach Veterans Day than providing a safe and secure home for our most deserving fellow Americans.”
“NYCHA is honored to be able to serve the men and women who proudly served our country,” said NYCHA Chairman Rhea. “Through the HUD-VASH Program and our collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, we have managed to secure housing for 1,424 homeless veterans, who have found a home throughout our developments and citywide. We appreciate our partners for making this support possible and beneficial to our veterans.”
"Many veterans are considered at risk of homelessness because they may be facing poverty, mental health issues, a lack of employment opportunities, financial hardships, or a lack of family support,” said the VA’s Sabo. “VA's homeless programs constitute the largest integrated network of homeless assistance programs in the country, offering a wide array of services that help veterans get back on track toward self-sufficient and independence.
The VASH program connects homeless veterans from local Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC) with HUD rental assistance vouchers provided by local public housing agencies. VA Medical Centers identify eligible candidates for public housing authorities, which administer the vouchers.
One local veteran who benefited from the HUD-VASH program was Alvaro González, a 47-year old retired Army sergeant who was honorably discharged. González is extremely grateful to the VA, HUD-VASH program and NYCHA for helping him find not only a home but the tools to succeed.
“For me this has been a great opportunity because I went from being homeless to having my own home and a job,” said González, who found out about VASH at a local VA hospital. “Programs like these help underprivileged veterans get back on their feet.”
Through the VA and NYCHA’s HUD/VASH unit, González, who appreciates how well coordinated both agencies are in helping veterans, was able to obtain a voucher, a decent affordable apartment in one of NYCHA’s developments in the Bronx, as well as employment assistance. When González told his case manager he was interested in working at NYCHA, he helped him secure a position as a caretaker within a NYCHA development.
HUD allocates the housing vouchers to local public housing agencies, which are specifically targeted to homeless veterans based on a variety of factors, including the number of reported homeless veterans and the proximity of a local VAMC with the capacity to provide case management. Local communities that receive HUD homeless assistance will work with local VAMCs to identify eligible participants. VAMC case managers will also work directly with local housing agencies that are administering the HUD-VASH program to determine income eligibility and help participants find suitable housing. Veterans participating in the HUD-VASH program rent privately owned housing and generally contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. The VA offers eligible homeless veterans clinical and supportive services through its medical centers across the U.S and Puerto Rico.
This is the fourth year HUD is supporting the housing and service needs of homeless veterans across America through HUD-VASH with a total investment of $275 million in voucher awards. Since 2008, HUD has funded over 37,000 HUD-VASH rental assistance vouchers nationwide.