Homeless prevention program launched
In his 2008 presidential campaign, President Barack Obama outlined the creation of a program targeted at preventing homelessness for financially, physically and mentally at-risk veterans and their families.
We've previously rated this promise In the Works, citing increased funding for veterans' housing programs in Obama's 2010 budget proposal as a step towards the program's eventual launch.
Since then, more concrete steps towards keeping this promise were taken with launch of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program by the Department of Veteran Affairs in July 2011. With the launch of the program, $60 million in grants to community non-profits and consumer cooperatives has been allocated to programs aimed at preventing veterans' homelessness. The goal of these programs will be to provide permanent housing to low-income veterans and their families who are at risk of homelessness
These programs, aimed at promoting housing stability, will provide a number of supportive services to at-risk veterans and their families. The department of Veteran Affairs, in announcing the program, said it would help provide "outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits and assistance in obtaining and coordinating other public benefits" through the programs it funds. Grant recipients will also provide time-limited financial assistance for veterans in need of temporary housing and rental payments.
Centerstone Mental Health Agency in Nashville, Tenn. received its grant in Sept. 2011 and in the months since has used the money to reach out to nearly 200 veterans who were homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, said Jesse Summer, program manager for SSVF. Almost half of those have received money to help with expenditures such as security deposits of electricity deposits, said outreach worker Troy Jenkins. Others are still in the process of being screened.
"This new innovative program from the Department of Veterans Affairs is essential to the Obama administration's efforts to prevent and end Veterans homelessness by 2015, Building on the lessons of the Recovery Act's success with the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing program (HPRP), this new funding is critical for communities across the nation." says deputy director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness Anthony Love in a recent VA press release.
The Department of Veteran Affairs released a notice in Dec 2011 stating that $100 million has been allocated for supportive services grants awarded to recipients in the upcoming year.
The Department of Veteran Affairs" launch of the SSVF program provides grants to local non-profit programs specifically aimed at preventing veteran homelessness. With the creation of this supporting services housing program, and the allocation of federal money in grants to fund non-profit organizations" initiatives, we rate this a Promise Kept.
Department of Veterans Affairs Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, VA Launches New Prevention Initiative to Serve 22,000 Veteran Families at Risk of Homelessness, Jul. 26, 2011
Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, General Information http://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/SSVF.asp, Jan. 13, 2012
Department of Veterans Affairs Fund Availability Under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, Dec. 1, 2011
Budget plan includes more help for homeless vets
These programs for homeless veterans provide affordable housing and services to help with difficulties such as mental illness, chemical dependency or chronic health problems.
President Obama's budget outline for 2010 seeks to increase these programs for veterans.
Under the section of the budget plan for the Department of Veterans Affairs is a paragraph stating the Obama administration's commitment to expand the VA's "current services to homeless veterans through a collaborative pilot program with nonprofit organizations. This pilot will help maintain stable housing for veterans who are at risk of falling into homelessness while helping VA to continue providing them with supportive services."
In a speech at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington on March 16, Obama said his budget plan "provides new help for homeless veterans, because those heroes have a home — it's the country they served, the United States of America. And until we reach a day when not a single veteran sleeps on our nation's streets, our work remains unfinished."
There is no dollar figure attached to this program in the proposal. We'll be looking for more detail as this budget plan works its way through the legislative process. But for now, its inclusion in Obama's proposed budget is enough to move this one to In the Works.
Office of Budget and Management, Budget Documents for Fiscal Year 2010 , Feb. 26, 2009
CQ Transcripts, Obama's remarks at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC, March 16, 2009