Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
VA Programs For Homeless Veterans
VA Programs For Homeless Veterans
VA’s specialized programs for homeless Veterans serve hundreds of thousands of homeless and at-risk Veterans each year. Independently and in collaboration with federal and community partners, VA programs provide Veterans with housing solutions, employment opportunities, health care, justice- and reentry-related services and more. Learn more about these programs below and at VA’s Programs for At-Risk Veterans and Their Families page.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)
This collaborative program between HUD and VA combines HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services to help Veterans who are homeless and their families find and sustain permanent housing.
How It Works
Through public housing authorities, HUD provides rental assistance vouchers for privately owned housing to Veterans who are eligible for VA health care services and are experiencing homelessness. VA case managers may connect these Veterans with support services such as health care, mental health treatment and substance use counseling to help them in their recovery process and with their ability to maintain housing in the community. Among VA homeless continuum of care programs, HUD-VASH enrolls the largest number and largest percentage of Veterans who have experienced long-term or repeated homelessness. At the end of FY 2019, there were 90,749 Veterans with active HUD-VASH vouchers and 83,684 vouchers in use.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)
For very low-income Veterans, SSVF provides case management and supportive services to prevent the imminent loss of a Veteran’s home or identify a new, more suitable housing situation for the individual and his or her family; or to rapidly re-house Veterans and their families who are homeless and might remain homeless without this assistance.
How It Works
Through referrals and direct outreach, nonprofit agencies and community cooperatives use SSVF funding to quickly house Veterans and their families who are homeless and keep others from slipping into homelessness by providing time-limited supportive services that promote housing stability. Case management includes help securing VA and other benefits such as educational aid and financial planning. On August 1, 2019 VA announced $426 million in SSVF grants for FY 2020, providing access to SSVF services in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. During FY 2019, SSVF assisted over 105,000 individuals, including more than 70,500 Veterans, as well as over 20,600 children in over 10,500 households. SSVF also assisted nearly 9,500 women Veterans, or 13.4 percent of all Veterans assisted. 82 percent of those discharged from the SSVF program obtained permanent housing.
$202 million has been allocated to SSVF from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide emergency housing and homelessness prevention assistance to very low-income Veteran families to mitigate the expected wave of evictions and potential homelessness that will result from extensive unemployment. Funds for this program will also assist the Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing program in placing Veterans in safe housing to isolate them from the virus.
Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program
State, local and tribal governments and nonprofits receive capital grants and per diem payments to develop and operate transitional housing and/or service centers for Veterans who are homeless.
How It Works
VA funds an estimated 600 agencies that provide over 14,500 beds for eligible Veterans. Grantees work closely with an assigned liaison from the local VAMC. The VA GPD liaison monitors the services the grantees offer to Veterans and provides direct assistance to them. Grantees also collaborate with community-based organizations to connect Veterans with employment, housing and additional social services to promote housing stability. The maximum stay in this housing is up to 24 months, with the goal of moving Veterans into permanent housing. In FY 2019, over 23,000 Veterans entered GPD transitional housing, over 13,000 homeless Veterans exited GPD to permanent housing, and over 30,000 Veterans were served by GPD grants. Additionally, VA awarded approximately $30 million in fiscal year 2019 for a new GPD case management grant and VA awarded about $2.4 million to renew 11 special need grants for support services for homeless Veterans who have chronic mental illnesses, women Veterans and Veterans who must care for dependents under age 18.
Grants from the GPD program usually consist of a capped per diem payment from VA to community organizations to provide transitional housing and supportive services to Veterans. Funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, $88 million has been allocated to this program, which allows VA to waive per diem limits during the COVID-19 crisis and help GPD grantees to provide all needed emergency housing and supportive services, including emergency placement for Veterans who need to be isolated for their safety or the safety of others.
Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV) Program
This program encompasses residential care for sheltered and unsheltered Veterans with multiple challenges, illnesses or rehabilitative care needs. DCHV provides a structured setting to foster Veterans’ independence and mutual support.
How It Works
Either on VAMC grounds or in the community, participating Veterans receive interdisciplinary clinical care that includes medical, psychiatric, vocational, educational or social services. There are more than 2,400 beds available through 47 sites.
Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services (HVCES)
Under this program, each VA Medical Center (VAMC) has received funding to hire new vocational development specialists who are serving as Community Employment Coordinators (CECs) to boost employment outcomes for Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
How It Works
CECs work out of each VAMC to forge partnerships and create relationships with local community organizations and employers who have the ability to hire Veterans. CECs work with and pre-screen Veterans who offer a variety of skills and come from all education levels, and are backed by VA’s entire network of services and providers. Employers can also proactively reach out to their local CEC by visiting the CEC contact information page. In FY19, approximately 9,325 Veterans exited homeless residential programs with competitive employment (i.e., Grant & Per Diem (GPD), Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence (CWT/TR), Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV), Low-Demand Supportive Housing (LDSH), and Healthcare for Homeless Veterans – Contract Residential Services (HCHV-CERS)). Additionally, employment rates for Veterans housed through HUD-VASH exceeded the national target by more than 5 percent in FY19.
Compensated Work Therapy (CWT)
CWT is comprised of the transitional work and supported employment program, which assists homeless Veterans in returning to competitive employment.
How It Works
Veterans in CWT are paid at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is the higher.
Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV)
This program offers outreach, case management and residential treatment services to help Veterans transition from living on the street or in institutions to stable housing situations.
How It Works
Operating out of many VAMCs nationwide, clinically trained providers locate Veterans who are living in precarious situations and connect them with VA bridge housing, health care and case management services that promote safe, stable living arrangements. In FY 2019, nearly 6,300 Veterans exited HCHV CRS programs to permanent housing and 64 percent of Veterans exiting CRS programs engage in VA mental health services and 79 percent receive ongoing VA medical services. Also in FY 2019, HCHV programs supported over 350 stand downs providing outreach to over 81,000 Veterans, provided outreach services to over 139,600 total Veterans, and provided case management services to over 10,900 Veterans.
$10 million has been allocated to HCHV from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide emergency shelter and supportive services during the COVID-19 crisis, including placements for Veterans needing emergency shelter or isolation to avoid spreading the virus. Housing will be paired with care, treatment and rehabilitative services.
- Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV)
- HCHV Rule Change Helps VA Serve More Veterans
- COVID-19 Resources
Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams (HPACTs) Program
Located on the campuses of VA medical centers (VAMCs), community-based outpatient clinics and Community Resource and Referral Centers, HPACT clinics provide a coordinated “medical home” tailored to the needs of homeless Veterans. They integrate clinical care, social services, enhanced access and community coordination.
How They Work
HPACTs co-locate medical staff, social workers, mental health and substance use counselors, nurses and homeless program staff. This team provides Veterans with comprehensive, individualized care, including services that lead to permanent housing. Veterans can walk into HPACT clinics without an appointment and receive medical care, case management services, housing placement supports, substance use and mental health treatment, community referrals, triage services, benefits counseling and even hot showers and clean clothes. HPACT has expanded to 60 VAMCs nationally and is currently actively serving almost 19,000 Veterans. It is estimated that over 25,000 Veterans are served by an HPACT annually. HPACTs are showing promise in improving health and other outcomes among participating Veterans compared with non-HPACT patients. The HPACT model is extensively evaluated through multiple research studies and evaluations. Studies show that Veterans in HPACTs are housed faster, use less acute care services, and receive more specialty care services they need as compared to Veterans not enrolled in an HPACT.
Homeless Veterans Dental Program
This other important resource provides Veterans who are homeless with dental treatment through programs such as Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation Treatment, VA Grant and Per Diem, Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence, Health Care for Homeless Veterans (contract bed) and Community Residential Care. VA is working to expand dental care to all eligible Veterans.
Justice- and Reentry-Related Services
Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) and Health Care for Reentry Veterans (HCRV) Programs
VJO aims to prevent homelessness by helping justice-involved Veterans who have mental health or substance use issues access needed VA clinical services. HCRV specialists work with Veterans to ease their transition from prison back into the community.
How the Programs Work
VJO specialists provide direct outreach, assessment and case management for Veterans in local courts and jails and help them navigate the justice system. Every VAMC has at least one VJO specialist. HCRV specialists meet with incarcerated Veterans before they’re released and assist them in planning for reintegration into the community by accessing VA and community services as well as housing and employment opportunities. In FY 2019, HCRV served more than 9,700 Veterans and VJO provided services to over 48,600 justice-involved Veterans. Furthermore, VA provided support to 551 Veterans Treatment Courts and other Veteran-focused court programs as well as partnered with legal providers to offer 170 pro-bono legal clinics to Veterans on site at VA medical centers.
CRRCs provide Veterans who are homeless and at risk of homelessness with one-stop access to community-based, multiagency services to promote permanent housing, health and mental health care, career development and access to VA and non-VA benefits.
For a list CRRCs across the country, click here.
These community-based outlets provide a broad range of counseling, outreach and referral services to combat Veterans and their families. Vet Centers guide Veterans and their families through many of the major adjustments in lifestyle that often occur after a Veteran returns from combat. Services may include individual and group counseling in areas such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), alcohol and drug assessment and suicide prevention referrals. All services are free and strictly confidential. Call 1-877-WAR-VETS (1.877.927.8387) to learn more.
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Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness can call or visit their local VA Medical Center (VAMC) and ask for a Homeless Coordinator. Use the VA locator tool www.va.gov/directory to find your nearest VAMC and call or visit today.