Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Permanent Supportive Housing Helps Struggling Veterans Recover


by Maya Brennan, Center for Housing Policy

Permanent supportive housing helps chronically homeless veterans make headway toward recovery. While some veterans become homeless due to a temporary economic setback, veterans who are chronically homeless typically have more substantial challenges to overcome. As we've noted before on this blog, ongoing support can help veterans recover from traumatic brain injury, substance use disorders, military sexual trauma, and other similarly serious impediments.

Veterans homelessness is an important national issue, but it is also personal to me. Through my volunteer activities outside of NHC, I have built friendships with homeless veterans struggling through recovery.

NHC’s new Veterans Permanent Supportive Housing guide highlights strong programs that provide a combination of services and affordable housing for the men and women who have served our nation but now need our nation’s help in return. The examples show that three key elements are essential for success:
  1. property-based rental assistance to allow rents to be affordable for extremely-low income veterans,
  2. little or no hard debt so that properties’ rent revenue can support operating costs rather than mortgage payments, and
  3. dedicated supportive services funding to ensure the ongoing availability of the services that residents need.
Silver Star Apartments in Battle Creek, MI
Places like Silver Star Apartments in Michigan, Hope Manor in Chicago, New Directions in Los Angeles, and American Legion Apartments in rural Connecticut all exist because of programs like HOME, project-based HUD-VASH and Housing Choice Vouchers, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Enhanced Use Leases of VA land, and other federal sources. State and local governments also provide important assistance through administration of federal funding programs as well as state and local grants, tax credits, soft loans, and land donations.

We need to keep and strengthen the programs that work. See the guide for our six key recommendations.

Our nation’s most disadvantaged veterans need our help. Let’s answer the call.

(This blog post is dedicated to Charlie, a Michigan native, homeless veteran, and fantastic human being who we lost too soon.)

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