VA helping veterans at high risk of homelessness

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 4:51 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced in May that it has expanded support services enabled by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, otherwise known as the CARES Act, to make available immediate assistance for veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

The CARES Act has enabled the VA to expand available support services to provide immediate relief for veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act allocates $17.2 billion for the Veterans Health Administration, $300 million of which will be used this fiscal year to address the challenges faced by homeless and at-risk veterans. 

Funding is provided for three critical VA programs to assist with the emergency response needed for Veterans living without safe, stable housing:

Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program - $202 million has been allocated to provide emergency housing and homelessness prevention assistance to very low-income veteran families to mitigate the expected wave of evictions and potential homelessness that could result from extensive unemployment. Funds for this program will also assist the Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing program in placing veterans in safe housing to isolate them from the virus. 

Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program - Grants from the GPD program usually consist of a capped per diem payment from VA to community organizations to provide transitional housing and supportive services to veterans. $88 million has been allocated to this program, which allows VA to waive per diem limits during the crisis and help GPD grantees to provide all needed emergency housing and supportive services, including emergency placement for veterans who need to be isolated for their safety or the safety of others.

Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program - $10 million has been allocated to provide emergency shelter and supportive services during the crisis, including placement in hotel rooms for veterans needing emergency shelter or isolation to avoid spreading the virus. Housing will be paired with care, treatment and rehabilitative services.

Dr. Keith Harris, National Director of Clinical Operations for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, joined the Deep Bench on NewsChannel 7 at 4 Thursday, to discuss how veterans can use these programs and services to assist them during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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