HUD, VA announce program to house homeless vets in Southern California

HUD, VA announce program to house homeless vets in Southern California

Military veteran Mark Humphrey, 63, receives money while panhandling along California Ave. in Redlands, March 7, 2014.
Military veteran Mark Humphrey, 63, receives money while panhandling along California Ave. in Redlands, March 7, 2014. Staff file photo

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday announced $18.5 million to 39 local public housing agencies across the country to provide a permanent home to an estimated 2,100 homeless veterans, the agencies said in a joint statement.

The awards included:

• City of Los Angeles Housing Authority received more than $1.4 million to house 150 veterans.

• County of Los Angeles Housing Authority received just over $1 million dollars to house 119 veterans.

• Orange County Housing Authority received $697,032 for 63 veterans.

• County of Riverside Housing Authority received $628,320 to house 77 veterans.

• County of San Bernardino Housing Authority received $483,564 to house 59 veterans.

• Pomona received $332,312 for 30 veterans.

The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Project-Based Vouchers are attached to specific existing, new construction or rehabilitated units.

In June, HUD and the VA announced awards of nearly $38 million to help more than 5,200 homeless veterans find homes. That was a type of voucher that is tenant based, meaning it follows the veteran should they move to another location, even another state, said Ed Cabrera, a regional HUD spokesman based in San Francisco.

In August, HUD announced that veterans’ homelessness in the U.S. was cut nearly in half since 2010.

More than 79,000 vouchers have been awarded and approximately 111,000 homeless have been served by the HUD-VASH program since 2008, the statement said.

In the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, the VA Medical Centers assess veterans experiencing homelessness before referring them to local housing agencies for these vouchers, the joint statement said.

Decisions are based on a variety of factors, most importantly the duration of homelessness and the need for longer term, more intensive support in obtaining and maintaining permanent housing, the statement said.

Veterans participating in the program generally contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent.

Early this year, San Bernardino County officials said they met and exceeded the county’s goal of housing all its homeless veterans.

In June 2015, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a recommendation by one of the nation’s leading experts on homelessness to implement a strategy to permanently house all 401 of it identified homeless veterans during a January 2015 count.

By Thanksgiving 2015, all had been housed, county officials said.

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Officials with The Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino could not immediately be reached for comment.

Monday’s voucher awards was the largest The Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles has ever received for the project-based voucher program, where the funding stays with the unit – indefinitely, said Elisa Vasquez, spokeswoman for the agency.

This is where when the veteran leaves a unit, another homeless veteran can be housed in the same unit, Cabrera said.

Tenant-based awards have been larger than what was announced Monday, Vasquez said.

The time frame for getting veterans moved into the three projects announced Monday is about 24 months, she said, adding that the tenants have not been identified.

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