WASHINGTON, DC – July 16, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — In an effort to help Rhode Island veterans who sacrificed for the nation but are now struggling with homelessness, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), today announced that the East Providence Housing Authority will receive $239,000 in federal funding to help provide homeless veterans with permanent supportive housing. These federal funds will be used to provide rental assistance vouchers worth up to $7,500 to about 35 local veterans and their families.
“This critical funding will help dozens of Rhode Island veterans and their families put a roof over their heads and access the services they need to get back on their feet. This program allows local veterans affairs case managers to reach out to veterans most in need and help them with their housing and follow up with the treatment and care they deserve. Our veterans have sacrificed greatly to serve our country and we need to make sure they have access to the benefits and support they earned,” said Reed, an Army veteran who serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs and helped create the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (VASH). Reed also helped secure $75 million in fiscal year 2009 VASH funding to assist up to 10,000 homeless veterans nationwide.
According to a report for the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there were at least 200 veterans who experienced homelessness in Rhode Island in 2007. Homeless veterans make up about 14 percent of Rhode Islanders who experience homelessness.
VASH funding is administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and provides local public housing agencies with rental assistance vouchers specifically targeted to homeless veterans in their area. In addition, HUD will link local public agencies with VA Medical Centers to provide supportive services and case management to eligible homeless veterans.
In order to be eligible for VASH vouchers, veterans must meet income and background check requirements and have a referral from a Veterans Administration Hospital. The vouchers may be used to help veterans who are already homeless find a place to live or to prevent veterans from being evicted and becoming homeless.
Senator Reed has been a strong supporter of housing assistance and homelessness prevention initiatives throughout his career. In May, President Obama signed Reed’s Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009 into law. This legislation provides $2.2 billion for targeted homelessness assistance grant programs; increases current levels of funding for homelessness assistance grants by $600 million; and allocates up to $440 million for homelessness prevention initiatives. It also expands the definition of homelessness in order to help families on the verge of becoming homeless and reauthorizes federal homelessness aid programs for the first time since 1989.
Reed will soon introduce comprehensive legislation to prevent veterans homelessness that improves and expands existing housing programs and institutes new, flexible funding to help veterans at risk of falling into homelessness.