May 13, 2008
HUD AWARDS FUNDING TO PROVIDE PERMANENT HOUSING FOR HOMELESS VETERANS
Today, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director Taylor Caswell joined Northampton Mayor Clare Higgins, Northampton Housing Authority Executive Director Jon Hite, and VA Medical Center Director
Mary Dowling to announce that $487,402 in additional funding has been awarded to the Northampton Housing Authority to provide permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans.
The funding is being awarded under HUD’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH), which is providing $2.5 million in Massachusetts to assist 245 homeless veterans throughout the state. Under this new program, local housing authorities will work with VA Medical Centers to provide supportive services and case management to eligible homeless veterans.
"This funding will serve a vital need of providing homes and support to those who sacrificed so much while serving
this country," said Caswell. "This program demonstrates a team effort to serve our veterans as they once served
The funding is part of $72.3 million awarded nationwide to assist 10,000 veterans across the country. It is expected that 70 veterans in the Northampton area will be assisted with the funding announced today.
"Providing affordable housing has been one of my top priorities as mayor," said Mayor Higgins. "I look forward to
having this program help those who have served us."
Under VASH, HUD will provide housing assistance through its Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program to local public housing agencies that are specifically targeted to homeless veterans based on a variety of factors, including the number of reported homeless veterans and the proximity of a local VA Medical Center with the capacity to
provide case management.
"We are excited about the opportunity to provide supportive housing assistance for veterans in need," said Hite.
The VA will offer eligible homeless veterans clinical and supportive services through its medical centers, and
veterans can use vouchers to rent privately-owned housing. The Northampton VA Medical Center provides services
to a veteran population in Western Massachusetts of more than 85,000 men and women. Soldier On, a non-profit organization that operates a homeless shelter on the grounds of the VAMC, will be working with the VA to identify veterans who will benefit from the rental vouchers.
Local communities or "Continuums of Care" that receive HUD homeless funding will work with local VA Medical
Centers to identify eligible participants. The VA will then screen homeless veterans to determine their eligibility.
Those eligible vets will receive treatment and regular case management to retain the voucher. VA Medical Center
case managers will also work closely with local housing agencies to help participants find suitable housing. Participating local housing agencies will also determine income eligibility in accordance to HUD regulations for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Last year, the Holyoke/Franklin Hampden Hampshire Counties Continuum of Care received $1.1 million in HUD homeless funding.