WASHINGTON, June 8, 2010 -- A program announced last week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide $58.6 million to get homeless veterans off the streets this year. Vouchers will be provided to some 8,000 displaced veterans and their families across the country through the department's Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, offering long-lasting support to the housing needs of veterans, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced June 3. "Though they served and sacrificed so much for our country, too many of our veterans find themselves on the streets and in homeless shelters," Donovan said. "The most-effective option to providing veterans permanent shelter is HUD-VA Supportive Housing," he said. "We owe determination that matches theirs as we work to end veteran homelessness. [The program] is immensely important and effective to reaching our goal." Homeless veterans can receive the rental vouchers through their local VA medical center. Case managers at each hospital refer eligible veterans to local housing authorities, which will then assist veterans in finding adequate homes. Eligibility for the vouchers is determined on a case-by-case basis, and requirements vary by metropolitan area, Brian Sullivan, a spokesman for HUD, explained in an interview today. The dollar amount allocated to each local housing agency is based on the number of reported homeless veterans and the fair market rental system. The individual vouchers will cover at least 70 percent of a veteran's rent. Also, once veterans are deemed eligible for the voucher, they stay in HUD's voucher system until they can be financially stable. "Veterans will permanently have support and housing through this program," Sullivan said. "That is until they're able to stand on their own and continue to increase their income, which is our ultimate goal." HUD plans to announce another $17 million for an additional 1,355 rental vouchers next month as well as 400 project-based vouchers later this summer, he said.
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