By: Charlestien Harris
This week, on November 11, people across the country will observe Veterans Day. In honor of this important day, I wanted to highlight a few programs that can offer assistance to those who have served this country.
A military Veteran is a person who has served or is serving in the armed forces of a country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were around 16.5 million Veterans in the United States in 2021. Veterans are a vital reason why we are able to enjoy the many freedoms that are available in this country.
Below is a list of housing resources that exist specifically to help Veterans that you may not be aware of.
The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program combines HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA provides these services for participating Veterans at VA medical centers (VAMCs), community-based outreach clinics (CBOCs), through VA contractors, or through other VA designated entities.
This collaborative program between HUD and VA combines HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services to help Veterans who are homeless, and their families, find and sustain permanent housing. Through public housing authorities, HUD provides rental assistance vouchers for privately owned housing to Veterans who are experiencing homelessness. For more information about this program, visit: www.va.gov/homeless/hud-vash.asp.
FHLB Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN)
These funds assist with necessary modifications to homes of U.S. veterans and active-duty, reserve, or National Guard service members who became disabled as a result of their military service since September 11, 2001. These funds can also be awarded to Gold Star Families that were impacted during this period for home repairs/rehabilitation.
HAVEN assistance is available until the funds are exhausted or until December 31, 2022, whichever occurs first. The funds are disbursed on a first-come, first-served, homeowner-by-homeowner basis through member banks. You can check to see if your bank is a member of this program by visiting: www.fhlb.com/community-programs/housing-assistance-for-veterans.
VA Home Loan or Grant Program
The Department of Veterans Affairs also offers home loans and grants. These programs help service members, veterans, and surviving spouses to buy, refinance, or modify their homes. The VA guarantees part of the loan, meaning they will cover a portion of the loan if you default. Doing this allows lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies, to offer you more favorable terms.
If you have a service-connected or age-related disability, you may be eligible for a veteran housing grant. These grants help you modify your home for disabilities related to military service or aging. For more information or to see if you are eligible, visit www.va.gov/housing-assistance/disability-housing-grants.
Homeless Veterans Assistance Center
Veterans and families requiring assistance finding or keeping safe, affordable housing can access services for homeless Veterans and their families by contacting the VA Homeless Veterans Assistance Center.
In order to qualify for this program, you must be a Veteran or a dependent of a Veteran. Additionally, you must be homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or unable to obtain safe, affordable housing. While only Veterans and their families may receive assistance, anyone may call the hotline or chat online with a VA specialist on behalf of a Veteran.
Services include: opportunities to return to employment, safe housing, health care, and mental health services. For more information about this resource, visit: www.benefits.gov/benefit/5891.
Search Your Home State for More Housing Resources
Check for shelter and housing through your state by visiting: www.hud.gov/topics/homelessness/localassist.
You can also check your local government or state’s human or social services programs for housing assistance or use the map on the Homeless Shelter Directory to find a shelter near you.
The types of facilities may vary. Be sure to research the best options for:
- Cost – Most shelters are free, but some may charge a small fee. Most facilities that provide residential drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs cost money. Be sure to contact the facility for additional information.
- Length of stay – This can vary from a couple of days to weeks or months.
- Types of services – Some facilities provide safe shelter for the night, while others are transitional and provide both housing and support services, or may help you with substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, or job training.
The housing needs of our veterans is very important, and for reasons of disability or other factors, many military veterans across the country struggle to find affordable housing. If you are a veteran of the United States military looking for low-income housing or assistance with housing expenses, a number of resources are available to you – as long as you know where to look.
If you know of a veteran that needs housing assistance, please connect them with the resources mentioned in this article.
For more information on this and other financial topics, contact me at 662-624-5776 or email me at Charlestien.Harris@southernpartners.org.
Until next week – stay financially fit!