A recent count by the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) showed that as of January, 2012, there are at least 62,619 homeless veterans. As we’ve mentioned before, there are some resources that property managers have access to that can help. 13% of all the homeless adults in the US today are veterans, and to put that into perspective for you- when you consider that veterans on the whole account for only 7% of our overall population: this number is just unbelievable, but sadly, true. If you are a landlord or a property manager, consider getting involved in one of our nation’s most important programs. A program that has come to the aid of tens of thousands of veterans and their families to help them lead independent lives with stable homes. There are quite a few programs for veterans both at the state and Federal levels.
A little more about the programs available.
As of 2009, President Barack Obama and the Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki made a bold proclamation of their goal to end veteran homelessness before 2016. The VA has since been involved in a strong push with several different outreach programs including the Homeless Veterans Outreach Initiative. This unprecedented commitment seeks to help those that served our country to find stable housing. Since then, the number of homeless vets has dropped by roughly 17.2%. In efforts to further progress, the VA ramped up with more programs and added funding for both those that are already homeless and those who are at risk. In 2013, the VA pledged to spend $1.4 billion for programs of this type and add an additional $4.4 billion for health care of those homeless veterans.
What can property managers and landlords do?
Apart from that which we already mentioned in the previous blog, there are other resources available. If you know a veteran who is homeless, or at risk, or in any other crisis situation, it is best to refer them to the Veterans Administration. You can call 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838). Additionally, the VA offers an online chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to support vets with professional support and care in helping them get back on their feet. That can be found at va.gov/homeless. Many of the professionals manning this line are also veterans, so it’s a very supportive, understanding resource that can help a great deal.
Every Veterans Administration medical center has a coordinator that is specifically trained to help aid homeless or at risk veterans. There are also more programs available to help support our vets in both establishment or maintaining secure housing.
You may not know about the HUD VASH program. This is a collaborative effort between the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as a number of local housing authorities. Otherwise known as VA Supportive Housing, those vets who are low income can receive a Section 8 voucher, as well as supportive case management and other services. If you are interested in the various programs for veterans, please see the US Department Of Veterans Affairs’ website for more information.
How can a landlord participate in the HUD VASH programs for veterans?
Get ahold of your local public housing authority. They will have the paperwork, and from there, you can get on the list of approved properties, as well as get more information.
Get your property inspected. Like any HUD program, you will need to be up to code.
When you promote your property, always be sure to mention that you do participate in the program and accept HUD VASH vouchers.
Images courtesy of The US Department of Veterans’ Affairs.