There are a number of helpful community services and government assistance programs available for retired military service members who are facing homelessness or cannot afford housing. Many of these programs operate on both the state and the federal level by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or other organizations.
Programs offered by the VA include those that help veterans afford rental housing in addition to a variety of programs that aim to help veterans become homeowners. Many government assistance programs offer additional benefits to specific groups of veterans, such as those living with disabilities and the elderly. Keep reading to learn more about these assistance programs that can assist veterans with their housing.
The Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, also known as HUD-VASH, is a major resource for veterans housing assistance that is provided by the HUD. Beneficiaries of this program will be eligible to receive housing choice vouchers, commonly referred to as Section 8 vouchers, which can provide financial support for families who are low-income or are facing homelessness.
Veterans who participate in the HUD-VASH program will have access to affordable, safe and decent housing in addition to clinical services from the VA medical centers. Community programs and experts will also be available to help veterans with case management. Typically, the HUD-VASH program will determine veterans’ eligibility based on their homelessness status, income and eligibility for medical care from the VA.
Note: Eligibility is no longer determined by whether a veteran has a substance abuse disorder or a chronic mental health condition.
As veterans reach an elderly age, they will require different services to meet their housing and medical needs. Retired service members who are senior citizens and those who have certain medical needs may be eligible for a variety of VA housing programs. Some housing types available include:
Many of these housing services are offered in a residential community environment in which veterans are able to receive the specialized care that they need. In order to be placed in an assisted living facility or a nursing home for veterans, there are certain qualifying medical conditions and other eligibility requirements that must be met. In many situations, veterans will be able to choose between different senior housing options to choose the best living situation for them.
Low-income veterans who are in need of immediate housing assistance can benefit from the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. Retired service members who are eligible can use this service to prevent themselves from losing their current home, find a new house or move to a more suitable location at any time.
The SSVF program can provide a safety net for veterans who are on the brink of homelessness or those who cannot find housing without the program’s assistance. Local nonprofit agencies and community groups are funded by the SSVF program if they offer direct outreach programs to veterans who need housing assistance.
The Department of Veterans Affairs runs the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, which gives veterans who are facing homelessness a chance to speak to a VA counselor free of charge. Veterans can call to get in touch with the hotline or visit their nearest VA medical center and speak with a social worker.
While there are a wide range of housing programs that are made specifically for veterans, there are also helpful programs that are available to the general public. Veterans can also participate in a number of these non-VA housing assistance programs. For instance, programs like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help beneficiaries afford their needs while they have a low income.