Discovering Resources Available for Veterans in Need of Housing
Unstable or temporary housing can negatively effect employment outcomes. Collaboration with housing providers can improve the use of supportive resources, offer veterans more support, and strengthen service delivery. In this article, we present some of the various housing programs that may be available to job-seeking veterans. Knowing about the range of housing programs and how to help veterans with challenges secure permanent housing options is helpful when partnering with housing staff.
Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program
State, local, and tribal governments and nonprofits receive capital grants and per diem payments to develop and operate transitional housing—including short-stay bridge housing—and/or service centers for veterans who are homeless. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) funds an estimated 600 agencies that provide over 14,500 beds for eligible veterans. Grantees work closely with an assigned liaison from the local VA medical center. The VA Grant and Per Diem (GPD) liaison monitors the services grantees offer to veterans and provides direct assistance to them. Grantees also collaborate with community-based organizations to connect veterans with employment, housing, and additional social services to promote housing stability. The maximum stay in this housing can be up to 24 months, with the goal of moving veterans into permanent housing. According to the VA, in fiscal year 2019 over 23,000 veterans entered GPD transitional housing, over 13,000 homeless veterans exited GPD to permanent housing, and over 30,000 veterans were served by GPD grants.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)
For very low-income veterans, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) provides case management and supportive services to prevent the imminent loss of a veteran’s home or to assist in the identification of a new, more suitable housing situation for the veteran and their family. SSVF may also assist with rapidly re-housing veterans and their families who are homeless and might remain homeless without assistance. Through referrals and direct outreach, nonprofit agencies and community cooperatives use SSVF funding to quickly house veterans and their families who are homeless and keep others from slipping into homelessness by providing time-limited supportive services that promote housing stability. Case management includes help securing VA and other benefits such as educational aid and financial planning.
Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans Program
The Domiciliary Care Program is the VA’s oldest health care program. Established through legislation passed in the late 1860s, the program’s purpose was to provide a home for disabled volunteer soldiers of the Civil War. Domiciliary care was initially established to provide services to economically disadvantaged veterans, and it remains committed to serving that group. The Domiciliary has evolved from a "Soldiers' Home" to become an active clinical rehabilitation and treatment program for veterans. Domiciliary programs are now integrated with the Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs (MH RRTPs).
The MH RRTPs are designed to provide state-of-the-art, high-quality residential rehabilitation and treatment services for veterans with multiple and severe medical conditions, mental illness, addiction, or psychosocial challenges.
Permanent Supportive Housing
Permanent supportive housing is an intervention that combines affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services to address the needs of individuals who chronically experience homelessness. The services are designed to build independent living skills and connect people with community-based health care, treatment, and employment services. In addition to ending homelessness for people who are chronically homeless, research has demonstrated that permanent supportive housing can also increase housing stability and improve health.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides funding for transitional housing programs designed to end or prevent homelessness. The mission is to help people experiencing homelessness by placing them in stable housing. In addition to providing temporary housing, HUD transitional housing programs focus on helping people gain the ability to become financially independent. Participants have a place to call home as they transition to self-sufficiency.
Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG)
The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH Act) amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, revising the Emergency Shelter Grants Program in significant ways and renaming it the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program. ESG funds may be used for six program components:
- Street outreach
- Emergency shelter
- Homelessness prevention
- Rapid re-housing assistance
- Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)
Eligible recipients are generally states, metropolitan cities, urban counties, and territories, as defined in 24 CFR 576.2. The ESG program is designed to assist people experiencing homelessness and families, and subpopulations within this group, such as victims of domestic violence, youth, people with mental illness, families with children, and veterans. ESG program funds can also be used to aid people who are at imminent risk of becoming homeless.
Federal Veteran Home Loan Program
VA home loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide eligible veterans with more favorable terms. Through this program, the VA helps service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. Interested individuals can apply at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage to determine eligibility.
What other benefits and resources have you found to serve veterans at risk of homelessness or experiencing homelessness? Take a look at NVTI’s other articles covering veterans experiencing homelessness as well as our Resources to Serve Veterans section of the website. To continue the conversation and share your valuable experiences with others, be sure to visit the Making Careers Happen for Veterans: Community of Practice.