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VA Homelessness Programs
|The Department of Veterans Affairs has a variety of programs targeted toward veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This page offers an overview of those programs and their purpose within the VA homelessness system.|
The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2015 Budget Proposal includes good news for the set of dedicated homeless assistance programs within VA that are critical to ending homelessness among veterans, proposing an overall $12.5 percent increase to these combined programs – to $1.6 billion. This $1.6 billion includes $500 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), a $200 million increase over the final FY 2014 level; $75 million for new HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, as well as $321 million for the case management portion of the vouchers, a $43 million increase from the final FY 2014 level; and $252 million for the Grant Per Diem transitional housing program, a $2 million increase from the final FY 2014 level.
On April 30, the full House passed its FY 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill for programs under its jurisdiction, including all VA programs. The bill flat funded targeted homeless assistance programs within VA (including SSVF, the case management portion of vouchers, Grant and Per Diem Transitional Housing, and other programs) at $1.4 billion - $200 million below the amount requested by the President in his budget proposal.
Since the VA operates under advance appropriations, the bill also provides $1.265 billion for targeted homeless assistance programs within VA, including SSVF, the case management portion of vouchers, Grant and Per Diem Transitional Housing, and other programs, in FY 2016. The bill also requests an analysis of the challenges facing homeless female veterans and an explanation of how the VA will work to meet these challenges and provide equal treatment and assistance for female veterans.
On Tuesday, May 20, the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Subcommittee marked up its FY 2015 funding bill; the full Senate Appropriations Committee marked up the bill on Thursday, May 22. The bill includes $1.641 billion for targeted homeless veteran programs, $241 million more than the FY 2014 enacted level and $41 million more than the amount requested in the President's Budget Proposal. This $1.641 billion includes $500 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), a $200 million increase over the final FY 2014 level and equivalent to the President’s Budget Proposal; $75 million for new HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, as well as $374 million for the case management portion of the vouchers, a $96 million increase from the FY 2014 enacted level and $53 million increase from the President’s Budget Proposal; and $253 million for the Grant Per Diem transitional housing program, a $3 million increase from the FY 2014 enacted level and $1 million increase from the President’s Budget Proposal.
The bill’s report also highlights progress made in recent years to end homelessness among veterans and also directs the VA Secretary to conduct a needs assessment of veterans in rural areas who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and welcomes suggestions on how to improve housing stability for these veterans.
However, since Congress was not able to finalize FY 2015 funding for federal programs (including VA programs), via the regular appropriations process in time for the start of the fiscal year, a continuing resolution (CR), or stopgap funding measure, was passed to fund the government at FY 2014 levels through December 11. At this point, Congress will either need to pass an omnibus spending bill finalizing FY 2015 funding for federal programs, including HUD-VASH, SSVF and GPD, or pass another short- or long-term CR to keep government programs funded at current levels ($1.4 billion for Veterans Homelessness Programs, including $278 million for case management for HUD-VASH, $300 million for SSVF and $250 million for the Grant and Per Diem program).
Overview of VA Homelessness Programs
The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program provides cost-effective homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services, which have been the missing piece in VA’s range of interventions. The program is targeted toward veterans and their families who are facing imminent eviction, or are currently homeless. SSVF complements more intensive models for veterans with higher needs, including the Grant and Per Diem transitional housing programs and permanent supportive housing through HUD-VASH. VA also provides the case management portion of HUD-VASH through its regional VA Medical Centers.