WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced $777,845 in federal grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide permanent homes for homeless veterans in Maryland. The Housing Authority of Baltimore City will receive $485,463, the Harford County Housing Agency will receive $105,966 and the Baltimore County Housing Authority will receive $186,416.
“Those who fought to defend this nation should not have to fight for a roof over their head when they return,” said Senator Cardin. “Making a concerted effort to end homelessness amongst our veterans is just one way we can begin to honor the commitments we make to our men and women in uniform. In the richest state, in the richest nation, there is no excuse not to fully commit to making homelessness among veterans a thing of the past. ”
“I believe our support for our military in the field must be matched by support for our veterans at home,” said Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee which funds HUD, and a member of the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus and the Senate Military Families Caucus. “Promises made to veterans must be promises kept. These funds in the federal checkbook 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. As of June 2014, the HUD-VASH program served a total of 74,019 veterans since 2008.
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 nationwide for 2014 found that Veteran homelessness fell by 33 percent (or 24,837 people) since 2010.Complete data from the 2014 point in time estimate will be available later this year. Across America on a single night in January 2013, 57,849 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 2014 HUD-VASH funding. HUD expects to announce more HUD-VASH funding later this year.
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.