Veterans have spent their lives, in part or in full, serving a cause greater than themselves. Yet, they often find themselves shut out of the housing market.
There are programs, however, that aid in finding and securing apartments for veterans who need safe, stable and affordable places to live.
1. Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program
Various nonprofits and community co-op programs, via referrals and outreach, use SSVF funds to quickly secure housing for very low-income veterans and their families in imminent danger of homelessness.
Case management for those who qualify for SSVF includes aid in securing Veterans’ Assistance and other benefits, such as financial aid and educational planning.
2. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program
In this assistance program, two government organizations work together, combining the power of HUD housing vouchers and VA support services to help homeless vets and their families find stable, permanent housing – and the program is largely rental-based.
Those receiving HUD-VASH assistance are required to receive VA case management throughout their use of this program to maintain records tracking voucher recipients.
While HUD-VASH generally targets veterans who are chronically homeless, often due to severe physical, mental health or substance abuse issues, other homeless veterans with diminished capacity and dire need are also eligible to apply and receive help.
3. Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program
Intended more for short-term or bridge housing for homeless veterans, GPD gets its funding through grants and per diem payments to maintain facilities allowing for short stays.
These grantees – roughly 600 agencies – collaborate with community-based organizations nationwide to help at-risk veterans in need find gainful employment, housing and additional social services in order to promote stability.
Temporary stays max out at 24 months, during which time the veteran can build a life network that will allow for greater independence and self-sufficiency, culminating in finding a more permanent home.
4. Enhanced-Use Lease (EUL) Program
This program takes advantage of underutilized VA campuses, creating spaces where homeless veterans and their families can not only live, but have access to services that might include job training, financial planning education, computer and internet access, fitness centers, barber/haircut services, support groups, senior companion programs, community gardens, playgrounds and more.
In the EUL program, private-sector entities lease VA land and buildings that can then be leased to those who need housing. Generally, these are convenient to VA hospital facilities, as well, offering at-risk veterans and their families increased access to quality health care.
At press time, the EUL program had nearly 3,000 housing units available for veterans and several hundred more are under construction. What’s more, the program is continually assessing VA properties, looking for increased ways and locations to expand services to more veterans in need.