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  • John Proctor

Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

Glen Allen, Virginia - With our previous topic on HUD-VASH, it dawned on me – why don’t we take a closer look at what the “VASH” has to offer.


Before we do though, let’s bring in a clear definition as to what the word “veteran” pertains to, as this program, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, focuses on lending them a helping hand.


Below is the definition for the said word in accordance to what is stated in 38 U.S.C. § 101(2).


“The term "veteran" means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.”


Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s get onto the topic itself.


For starters, we should know what “VASH” is, shouldn’t we?


Referencing back to our previous article, HUD is the one that provides housing vouchers while VA provides supportive services, in which we will be focusing on the latter as planned.


In terms of services offered, there are usually different types offered even in different industries and what not; the same can definitely be applied to the supportive services offered to our veterans of course!


Listed below are the various VA Housing Assistance and Support Options as compiled and categorized by:



State:

  • Community Living Centers – activities for veterans of all ages are offered in these VA-run nursing homes and these are intended to be inviting places for family members to visit.

  • Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Programs – there are said to be four basic types of down payment assistance offered, which are: down payment gift which is not repaid, a second mortgage paid alongside your main mortgage payment, a loan paid when you sell, refinance or stop using a home as your primary residence, and a forgivable load.

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – for this, refer the HUD’s state webpage for comprehensive lists of housing agencies and charitable programs.

  • National Association of State Veterans Homes – the main goal of these state veteran homes was stated to be, “to promote better quality of care and life for veterans and their families”.

  • Semper FI & America’s Fund - Service Member and Family Support – this program designed for military members and their families mostly operates out of most VA hospitals around the country as immediate assistance are provided to those wounded in combat.

Federal:

  • Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program – this program is said to be aiming for the improvement of veterans’ personal safety, reduced risks, and the increase in the availability of individual transitional housing.

  • Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) and Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grants – these programs offer grants to be of aid in building, buying, or fixing up an adapted home to disabled veterans to help with severe service-connected disabilities.

  • Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) Grant – this time, the grants offered here are for disabled veterans who “currently own homes but need to make changes to live comfortably”. Basically, it focuses on improvements.

  • Mortgage Credit Certificates (MCC) Program – this program aids lower-income families in affording home ownership as home buyers are able to claim dollar-for-dollar tax credit for a portion of mortgage interest paid per year of up to $2,000.

  • Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) Grant – while this is another grant, it focuses on being of aid to disabled veterans lead more independent lives that offer higher levels of comfort.

  • HUD-VASH Grants – this grant is supposedly given by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be of aid to veterans in financial need to secure safe housing.

  • Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) – now this program is the first ever homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing program administered by VA wherein assistance is given to veterans looking to transition into full-time housing.



Local:

  • The VA's 25 Cities Initiative – this initiative was specially designed to end veteran homelessness wherein landlords who offer rentals to veterans and brokers who help veterans connect with subsidized housing projects are said to be given bonuses and incentives.

  • Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) Program – offered in this program that is often part of the VA’s health care package are at-home visits by a primary care doctor, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant.

  • StatesideLegal – as mentioned in its name, this offers legal help, including housing matters as the legal representatives here are well-versed in the needs of veterans.

  • U.S. Vets – just like in the first item listed in this category, U.S. Vets aims to provide assistance in ending homelessness for veterans by helping secure housing in shelters, transitional solutions and permanent homes.

Nonprofit:

  • Homes For Our Troops – this nationwide organization dedicates itself into building specially adapted homes for soldiers who have sustained sever injuries such as multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis and/or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

  • Building Homes for Heroes – this program builds or buys homes and gives them to eligible veterans and families, wherein new housing is being offered every 11 days since the organization’s founding.

  • Army Emergency Relief – this nonprofit is said to give aid to the Army veterans by securing emergency assistance for mortgage or rental relief.

  • Coalition to Salute America's Heroes – now this coalition is another one that focuses on helping the severely wounded veterans and families of certain operations recover from their injuries and illnesses.

  • National Association of American Veterans – this association offers aid in the following: rent/mortgage assistance, funding for necessary home repairs and emergency expenses, financial guidance, the boasting of the NAAV Military Family Program.

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) - Unmet Needs Program – this is another program that offers grants for military families in the midst of financial difficulties.

Now listed here are other general resources that can help prevent homelessness for veterans and families at imminent risk due to a housing crisis and the categories where the abovementioned services belong to:



  • VA Mortgage Program – this program is said to have more favorable interest rates and more flexible qualification requirements, letting veterans and service members buy a home without a down payment.

  • Down Payment Assistance Programs – this program is a strong option when it comes to the array of housing- related benefits states to eligible active duty personnel and veterans.

  • Emergency Assistance Programs – this type of program is offered in all branches of military wherein emergency housing assistance is offered. The Army Emergency Relief abovementioned is one of them.

  • Adaptive Housing Assistance Grants – while these grants are usually offered by the government to help make homes more adaptable for disabled veterans, there are a number of nonprofits such as the Gary Sinise Foundation offering funding for such adaptations as well.

So, why do we need to give attention towards the services offered to our veterans you ask?

Well, after long durations of deployment, it comes as no surprise that there are veterans who face unique challenges not everyone knows about which causes them to struggle in re-entering civilian life.


In one article, it had been mentioned that a number of the said veterans struggle with behavioral health issues and even end up with homelessness.


Taking into account all the sacrifice they’ve made for the betterment of the populace, the least we could do is reach out to them to be of aid in lessening their burdens.


One of those lay in lessening the rates of homelessness within their group.


Do you know?



Back in the aforementioned link is a trivia for you all:

  • Veterans make up less than 10% of the population of the United States but are about 8% of the country’s homeless population.

  • Black veterans account for about one-third of veterans experiencing homelessness.

  • Nearly one-third of all veterans experiencing homelessness in America live in California.

  • 28 states saw decreases in the total number of veterans experiencing homelessness from 2019 to 2020.

Turning our sights back to focus on Virginia, there exists the Virginia Supportive Housing (VSH) program where they are said to take a holistic approach in preventing and ending Veteran homelessness as they operate in locations where large military and Veteran populations are present.


Meanwhile, they also offer housings specifically tailored for Veterans through their Veterans Apartments community and other specialized programs such as Supportive Services for Veteran Families.



With so many programs to help reduce, or even eradicate, homelessness amongst our veterans who have fought so hard, it’s now a matter of helping them reach these programs for the better lifestyle that they deserve after sacrificing so much.

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