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San Francisco Homeless Veterans Get $2.7 Million In Housing Vouchers

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On Thursday, Mayor Lee announced that San Francisco will be the recipient of $2.7 million in housing vouchers for homeless veterans.

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development's Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program will grant the city $2,728,301, allowing San Francisco to move ahead with the Veterans Commons project, a city-owned building at 150 Otis Street that will soon offer permanent housing and services to 75 senior veterans. The funding is part of the Obama administration's goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015.

"The men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces deserve the greatest respect and dignity for having sacrificed so much for our country," said Mayor Lee in a release. "And San Francisco is committed to making sure our veterans returning home get the services they need, including permanent supportive housing."

According to Mayor Lee's office, some of the vouchers will be used to provide veterans with rental assistance throughout the city. The balance of the vouchers will be used to support the Veterans Commons housing project. The Commons is expected to open in late 2013.

San Francisco has long struggled with chronic homelessness, but the epidemic has hit veterans particularly hard.

"It's a national disgrace that one out of every six men and women in our shelters once wore a uniform to serve our country said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "But we know that by providing housing assistance and case management services, we can significantly reduce the number of veterans living on our streets."

On Friday, California Governor Jerry Browns named March 30 "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day" in California.

"Our treatment of the veterans of Vietnam and other wars reflects profoundly on our character as a nation," said Governor Brown in a press release. "Too many of our veterans suffer from unemployment, poverty, homelessness, substance abuse and disability. [...] While the Council continues to explore every possible improvement in policies and programs related to veterans’ issues, I urge all citizens to act in the same spirit by welcoming home our veterans, thanking them for their service and assisting them in every conceivable way."

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Filed by Robin Wilkey