Benefit Category: Federal
VA offers a wide array of special programs and initiatives specifically designed to help homeless veterans live as self-sufficiently and independently as possible. In fact, VA is the only Federal agency that provides substantial hands-on assistance directly to homeless persons. Although limited to veterans and their dependents, VA’s major homeless-specific programs constitute the largest integrated network of homeless treatment and assistance services in the country. VA’s specialized homeless veterans treatment programs have grown and developed since they were first authorized in 1987. The programs strive to offer a continuum of services that include:
- aggressive outreach to those veterans living on streets and in shelters who otherwise would not seek assistance;
- clinical assessment and referral to needed medical treatment for physical and psychiatric disorders, including substance abuse;
- long-term sheltered transitional assistance, case management, and rehabilitation;
- employment assistance and linkage with available income supports; and
- supported permanent housing.
Homeless Female Veterans
Homelessness among women veterans is expected to rise as increasing numbers of women in the military reintegrate into their communities as veterans. Women currently make up 8% of the total veteran population and 14.6% of the active duty military, increasing to an estimated 16% by 2035. The number of homeless women veterans has doubled from 1,380 in 2006 to 3,328 in 2010. This offers links to several programs for female veterans.
HUD-VA Supportive Housing (VASH) Program
VASH is a joint effort between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and VA. HUD allocated nearly 38,000 “Housing Choice” Section 8 vouchers across the country. These vouchers allow Veterans and their families to live in market rate rental units while VA provides case management services. A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord on behalf of the participating Veteran. The Veteran then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.
VA’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program
HCHV offers outreach, exams, treatment, referrals, and case management to Veterans who are homeless and dealing with mental health issues, including substance use. At more than 135 HCHV sites, trained, caring VA specialists provide tools and support necessary for Veterans to get their lives on a better track.
Call 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or contact:
Capital Hill Building Veterans Outreach Center
350 Capital Hill Ave
Reno, NV 89502
The mission of the Homeless Veteran Dental Program is to increase the accessibility of quality dental care to homeless Veteran patients and to help assure success in VA-sponsored and VA partnership homeless rehabilitation programs throughout the United States.
Stand Downs are one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to provide services to homeless veterans. Stand Downs are typically one to three day events providing services to homeless Veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment. Stand Downs are collaborative events, coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies, and community agencies who serve the homeless. The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam veterans in San Diego. Since then, Stand Downs have been used as an effective tool in reaching out to homeless Veterans, reaching more than 200,000 Veterans and their family members between 1994-2000.