Homeless Veteran Programs
Every veteran should have a place to call home. Being in a state of homelessness or having the risk of being homeless is a common threat among the veteran population. Even though the number of homeless veterans declined by nearly 50 percent since 2009, veteran homelessness is a major problem across the nation.
Several programs across the country work to help veterans and their families exit the cycle of homelessness. That’s why Empire Resume performed the research to locate some programs that specifically serve homeless veterans.
VA Programs for Homeless Veterans
The VA provide veterans with housing solutions, employment opportunities, healthcare and more. Check out some of the primary veteran programs for homeless veterans below:
1. VA Housing Assistance Programs
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH). This is a collaboration between HUD and VA to help veterans and their families find and sustain permanent housing.
The HUD-VASH program enrolls the largest number and percentage of veterans who experience long-term or repeated homelessness. Individuals can gain access to housing through the HUD-VASH housing voucher system, which acts as rental assistance for eligible veterans.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF). The SSVF provides case management and support to prevent the imminent loss of a veteran’s home or identify a new, more suitable housing situation for the veteran and his or her family.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families works to prevent home loss and can assist with rehoming or finding more affordable housing for veterans and their families.
The VA recently announced that it will provide federal funding grants in certain areas of the country through the SSVF to help homeless veterans and their families.
For example, the Santa Maria Times reported that nonprofits located in the Santa Maria, California area will receive up to $1 million in funding. Santa Maria was among 45 cities or geographic locations in the U.S. that became eligible to receive the grants, ranging from $750,000 to $2 million. Statistically, Santa Barbara County had 1,897 individuals, including 90 families with a total of 135 children and 210 veterans who were experiencing homelessness. For more information regarding on these grants and where they are going, review the 11/22/2021 Federal Register Notice.
The Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program. The GPD pays state, local, and tribal governments with per diem payments to create and maintain transitional housing units for veterans. These units are designed to be short-term living arrangements to help homeless veterans get back on their feet and find permanent housing.
Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans Program (DCHV). This program provides residential care for sheltered and unsheltered veterans with multiple challenges, illnesses, or rehabilitative care needs. Care happens either on VAMC grounds or within the community. There are more than 2,400 beds available through 47 sites.
2. VA Employment Assistance for Homeless Veterans
Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services (HVCES). VA created the Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services (HVCES) to improve employment outcomes for veterans who have experienced homelessness. HVCES has over 150 Vocational Development Specialists who serve as Community Employment Coordinators (CECs), at most VA Medical Centers across the country. CECs are part of the VHA homeless program teams and are a bridge to community employment resources and employers ready to hire Veterans exiting homelessness.
Compensated Work Therapy (CWT). CWT comprises the transitional work and supported employment program, which assists homeless veterans in returning to competitive work environments. Through this program, veterans are paid at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher.
3. Health Care Programs for Homeless Veterans
Healthcare for Homeless Veterans. The program offers outreach, case management, and residential treatment to help Vets transition from living or the street or in institutions to stable housing environments.
Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs (MH RRTPs). This program provides high-quality residential and treatment services for veterans with mental health challenges, medical conditions, addiction, or psychosocial deficits. The MH RRTP identifies and addresses the goals of rehabilitation, recovery, health maintenance, improved quality of life, and community integration in addition to specific treatment of medical conditions, mental illnesses, addictive disorders, and homelessness, including homeless veterans.
Homeless Veterans Dental Program. The program is sponsored by the VA Office of Dentistry and works in partnership with internal and external groups that serve the needs of homeless veterans. The provision of dental care has been shown to improve many aspects of health and well-being.
Veterans who had experienced homelessness report significant improvement in perceived oral health, general health, and overall self-esteem. This work supports the concept that dental care is an important aspect of overall homeless rehabilitation and should be included in the road to self-sufficiency and improved whole health.
4. Foreclosure Assistance
VA Financial Counseling. When a veteran falls behind on their mortgage payments, they face the risk of losing their home. VA loan specialists work with veterans to find the best option for them to avoid a foreclosure on their homes. Some options include negotiating a more affordable payment plan, getting a special forbearance period, and delaying foreclosure by having a private sale.
While the VA has many programs for homeless Vets, the VA reaches only 20% of veterans and families in need. Approximately 400,000 veterans go without the supportive services they need each year. That’s where the below organizations come in to help pick up the missing pieces!
Homeless Veteran Programs Outside of the VA
Below are 6 amazing programs for homeless veterans that you should know:
Soldiers’ Angels has a range of services that directly support homeless, low-income, and at-risk veterans and their families, filling gaps where those services did not previously exist. Services include:
- Mobile Food Distributions
- Box Lunches
- Hygiene Kits
- Transportation Services
- Canteen Gift Cards
- Homeless Veteran Housing Pack
For more information, visit Soldier’s Angels Homeless & Low-Income Veteran Support webpage.
Veterans Community Project is a 501(c)(3) organization whose primary goal is to eliminate veteran homelessness nationwide. VCP was founded by a group of combat veterans in Kansas City, Missouri who resolved to stand in the gaps of a broken system that left too many of their brothers and sisters behind. Their service offerings are twofold:
- Veteran Outreach Center
A one-stop-shop for any problem any veteran faces regardless of time in service, discharge status or any other common benefit qualifier. Services include helping veterans navigate the VA and their benefits, identification services, mental and physical health referrals, financial counseling, employment supports and more. Also, veterans receive hygiene kits and have a food pantry ready at their disposal. All services are FREE!
- VCP Village
VCP Village is a specialized community of small homes combined with onsite services to get homeless veterans off the street and transition them to permanent housing. Why a tiny home, you ask?
A tiny home provides the veteran with privacy, a sense of security, and the ability to reintegrate at a comfortable pace. Veteran services are facilitated through an onsite community center that provides the veterans with mentoring, case management, counseling, and linkage to other programs and services.
3. Mo’s Heroes
Mo’s Heroes is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Fayetteville, NC, that provides services to reintegrate homeless veterans into meaningful employment and to stimulate the development of effective service delivery systems that will address the complex problems facing homeless veterans. “Helping Veterans Take Back Tomorrow” is the organization’s motto. Services include:
- Employment Help
- Veteran Housing Assistance
- Counseling Services
- Food Support
- Transportation Services
The Central Oregon Veterans Village is a partnership between the Bend Heroes Foundation and Central Oregon Veterans Outreach (COVO). The veterans Village serves as a community of transitional shelters designed to provide shelter and services for homeless veterans. Their goal is to have 15 shelters and a central community building complete with a kitchen, dining area, case management offices, laundry, restrooms, and showers. As of now, services include:
- Transitional Shelter
- Behavioral and physical health services
- Social service programs for self-sufficiency
- Employment training and skill-building
- Housing placement
5. Valor Pointe
Valor Pointe is a project by Our Path Home, an organization in Boise, Idaho. Valor Pointe is a 27-unit apartment complex benefitting veterans in Ada County and offers health care, mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment. Other initiatives of Our Path Home include:
- Housing First
- Campaign to end family homelessness
- New path community housing
Caritas of Austin is a leader in its community’s efforts to end veteran homelessness. The Austin, TX, based program is designed to end homelessness for veteran families and build holistic wellbeing through temporary financial assistance, employment support, budgeting, and assistance obtaining VA and other eligible benefits.
What do I do if I’m Facing Homelessness?
Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness are strongly encouraged to contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance.
For those without access to a phone or the internet, the VA medical center is available without advance notice.
Homeless Vets by the Numbers
To put this crisis in perspective, we wanted to wrap up with these alarming statistics. In the 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that:
- 37,252 veterans experienced homelessness, 8 percent of all homeless adults.
- Of every 10,000 veterans, 21 experienced homelessness.
- California, Hawaii, and Oregon had the highest rates of homelessness among all veterans, far exceeding the national rate of 21 of every 10,000 veterans.
- The highest rate was in California, where 77 of every 10,000 veterans were experiencing homelessness, followed by Hawaii and Oregon (54 and 50 of every 10,000 veterans).
What Causes Veteran Homelessness?
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, a nationwide organization focused on ending veteran homelessness, says there are many contributing factors relating to homelessness including:
- Extreme shortage of affordable housing
- Livable income and access to health care
- Lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse
- Lack of family and social support networks
If you or someone you know is facing homelessness, please call 877-424-3838, visit the local VA, or locate an organization near you with the goal of ending veteran homelessness. The Veterans Crisis Line is also available by phone at 1-800-273-8255 or online at VeteransCrisisLine.net.
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