Saturday, June 20, 2009

HUD and VA announce $75 million for HUD-VASH program

Secretaries Shinseki and Donovan Host First Meeting of the United States
Interagency Council on Homelessness under the Obama Administration

Secretary Donovan Elected New Chair of the Council

HUD and VA announce $75 million for HUD-VASH program

to provide rental housing and support for homeless veterans

WASHINGTON (June 18, 2009) - The United States Interagency Council on
Homelessness (USICH) met today for the first time under the Obama
Administration. U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki
chaired the meeting, at which U.S. Housing and Urban Development
Secretary Shaun Donovan was elected rotating Chair for the upcoming year
and U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was elected Vice Chair. U.S.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Melody Barnes,
Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, attended the

The mission of the USICH is to coordinate the federal response to
homelessness and to create a national partnership with every level of
government and the private sector to address homelessness in the nation.

"It is simply unacceptable for individuals, children, families, and our
nation's Veterans to be faced with homelessness in this country," said
President Obama. "I am confident that the Interagency Council on
Homelessness, under Secretary Donovan's leadership, will have a renewed
focus on coordinating efforts across federal agencies and working
closely with our state, local, community-based, and faith-based partners
to address these serious issues."

"Ending the continuing tragedy of homelessness demands thoughtful and
focused leadership," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "President Obama
and I are committed to working through the USICH, the agencies it
represents and our state, local and non-profit partners to build a
thoughtful and compassionate response to this crisis. The bottom line
is that through our combined efforts every man, woman and child in this
nation should have access to a safe, affordable place to lay their head
at night."

Secretaries Donovan and Shinseki also announced the allocation of $75
million to local public housing authorities across the 50 states, the
District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam to provide permanent
supportive housing and dedicated VA case managers for an estimated
10,000 homeless Veterans. This innovative joint initiative is called
Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH). This funding
will provide local public housing agencies with approximately 10,000
rental assistance vouchers specifically targeted to assist homeless
Veterans in their area. Public housing authorities, that administer
HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Program, work closely with Department of
Veteran Affairs medical centers to manage the program. In addition to
the rental assistance, VA medical centers provide supportive services
and case management to eligible homeless Veterans.

"It is shameful that after serving our nation so well, some of our
Veterans leave their military life only to fall into homelessness," said
Donovan. "Working closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs, we're
able to offer a permanent home, along with critically needed supportive
services, to the very people to whom we owe so much."

"No one, especially Veterans who have faithfully served our country
should become homeless," said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. "This
council's work is critical to providing for those at risk and on the
streets. This interagency partnership allows us to leverage our
resources, programs, talent and experience to create viable solutions
that will eliminate homelessness."

"With new service members returning home every day and the economy
sputtering, we must step up our efforts to provide all Veterans with
housing and the dignity that comes with it," said Senator Murray,
Chairman of the Senate Housing Appropriations Subcommittee. "For too
long homeless Veterans have been forgotten heroes. HUD-VASH grants are
making a real difference in ensuring that those who have sacrificed for
our nation are not coming home to sleep on our streets."

Under HUD-VASH, HUD will provide housing assistance through its Housing
Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) which allows Veterans to rent
privately owned housing. The VA will provide to eligible homeless
Veterans clinical and supportive services through its health care system
across the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
VA addresses the needs of the more than 100,000 homeless Veterans who
access VA health care annually.

The USICH is an interagency council made up of members from federal
agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development,
Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Agriculture, Department of
Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of
Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland
Security, Department of Interior, Department of Justice, Department of
Labor, Department of Transportation, Corporation for National and
Community Service, Social Security Administration, General Services
Administration, and United States Postal Service.

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