WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced $1.24 million in federal grants through U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide permanent homes for homeless veterans in Maryland. The Housing Authority of Baltimore City will receive $744,586, Housing Opportunity Commission of Montgomery County will receive $196,835 and Housing Authority of Prince George’s County will receive $301,182.
“The men and women who have served in our nation’s military have made enormous sacrifices in defense of our democracy and freedoms,” said Senator Cardin. “Now it is our turn to provide them with the support they need, and that includes making sure they have a place they can call home. We need to do all we can to thank them for their service by easing the transition from military to civilian life.”
“I believe our support for our military in the field must be matched by support for our veterans at home,” Senator Mikulski said. “Promises made to veterans must be promises kept. These federal dollars will help our vets find homes. The nation owes a debt of gratitude to our men and women in uniform, these grants will show that gratitude not just with words, but with deeds.”
The supportive housing assistance is provided through the HUD – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA. Since 2008, a total of 48,385 vouchers have been awarded and 42,557 formerly homeless veterans are currently in homes because of HUD-VASH.
HUD-VASH is a critical part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to end Veteran and long-term chronic homelessness in 2015. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness serves as a roadmap for how the federal government will work with state and local communities to confront the root causes of homelessness, especially among former servicemen and women. HUD’s annual “point in time” estimate of the number of homeless persons and families for 2012 found that Veteran homelessness fell by 7.2 percent (or 4,876 people) since January 2011 and by 17.2 percent since January 2009. On a single night in January 2012, 62,619 veterans were homeless.
The grants announced today are part of $75 million appropriated this year to support the housing needs of homeless veterans. Local public housing authorities provide rental assistance to homeless Veterans while nearby VA Medical Centers (VAMC) offer supportive services and case management. This is the first round of the 2013 HUD-VASH funding. HUD expects to announce more HUD-VASH funding this summer.
VAMCs work closely with homeless Veterans then refer them to public housing agencies for these vouchers, based upon a variety of factors, most importantly the duration of the homelessness and the need for longer term more intensive support to obtain and maintain permanent housing. The HUD-VASH program includes both the rental assistance the voucher provides and the comprehensive case management that VAMC staff provides.
Veterans participating in the HUD-VASH program rent privately owned housing and generally contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. VA offers eligible homeless Veterans clinical and supportive services through its medical centers across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico.