WASHINGTON, DC – May 5, 2008 – In an effort to help ensure that Rhode Island’s struggling veterans have access to safe, sanitary, and affordable housing, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), today announced that the Providence Housing Authority (PHA) will receive $266,713 in federal funding to provide approximately 35 homeless veterans with permanent supportive housing.
According to a report for the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there were at least 175 veterans who experience homelessness in Rhode Island in 2005 and 2006. Homeless veterans make up over 10 percent of Rhode Islanders who experience homelessness.
“Our veterans have sacrificed greatly to serve our country, and it is especially important to honor our commitment to them when they come back home. This critical federal funding will help provide dozens of Rhode Island’s veterans with a place to sleep and important services to get them back on their feet,” said Reed, a senior member of the Banking Committee, which oversees federal housing policy. Funding for these grants was included in the FY08 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs Bill, which Senator Reed shepherded through enactment as acting chair of the Appropriations subcommittee. “These are people who made great sacrifices for our country and we need to make sure they have access to the housing, healthcare, and benefits they earned.”
Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (VASH) awards, administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD), provide 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.
Rhode Island has one of the highest percentages nationwide of veterans coping with severe housing costs. In 2005, 2,830 veterans paid over fifty percent of their income for rent, putting them at higher risk for homelessness.
“No family, no vet returning from Iraq, no mentally ill person should have to fall into homelessness in order to get help. Only by working in cross-sector alliances are we going to address the root causes of homelessness — a shortage of affordable housing, insufficient income, and inadequate social services — and develop realistic, practical, and community-based solutions to homelessness,” concluded Reed.
The Providence Housing Authority houses over 5,700 residents. There are 13 public housing developments in Providence, including 6 family developments, 7 elderly/disabled high rises, and 246 scattered site homes. In addition, the PHA administers a Section 8 Program, which assists more than 2,500 households. It is consistently recognized as national leader in public housing.
Senator Reed has been a strong supporter of housing assistance initiatives throughout his career. He authored several key provisions in the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 to help stem the tide of foreclosures across the country and prevent future housing crises. The U.S. Senate passed this bill in April and the House will soon consider similar legislation.