The federal government continues to take steps to curb the problem of veteran homelessness.
Public housing authorities in 18 states will receive $5.4 million to provide permanent housing for nearly 700 homeless veterans, according to a joint announcement Monday from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This is the final funding round of the $75 million Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH), an initiative aimed at helping the nation's homeless veterans secure permanent housing and comprehensive case management.
The program funds housing vouchers that qualified veterans can use to get off the streets and into privately owned housing units. Housing authorities can assign voucher assistance to specific units. Veterans eligible for the program pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent and receive clinical and supportive services through VA Medical Centers.
HUD has funded more than 10,000 vouchers for homeless veterans in 2010 alone.
"Our mission is to end veterans' homelessness," VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said in a news release. "This effort is an excellent example of how VA works with HUD and our community partners in that shared mission. The project-based vouchers will provide dedicated permanent housing for veterans and allow them to live in support of each other, as neighbors."
Service members are 50 percent more likely to become homeless than the average American, according to HUD.
"As our young men and women return from Afghanistan and Iraq, they deserve to be treated with dignity and honor," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "These vouchers continue to get more of our veterans off the streets and out of homeless shelters into permanent housing."
The vouchers were competitively awarded to public housing authorities that had previously participated in the program. HUD maintains a breakdown of the vouchers at its website.
Disclosure: Chris Birk is director of communications for the VA Mortgage Center, which specializes in VA loans for veterans and active duty service members.
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