VA Homeless Programs
A Partner Success Story in Ending Veteran Homelessness
Leading the Way to End Veteran Homelessness
Housing Partnership Network | July 7, 2015
One home at a time—that’s how the nation is going to end homelessness among Veterans. Yet the persistent shortage of low-cost housing across the country is a challenge too many communities face. Success depends in large part on housing providers being willing to generate more permanent housing for Veterans.
One such provider—a member-driven collaborative of 100 housing and community development nonprofits across the country—is Housing Partnership Network. HPN was founded 20 years ago as a new breed of entrepreneurial nonprofit that combines a social mission with private enterprise to develop solutions to the most challenging problems facing our country. This mission includes boosting the supply of affordable housing for Veterans and others in need.
From coast to coast, HPN members are breaking ground on new buildings with apartments set aside for Veterans holding Housing and Urban Development-Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers. HPN members are freeing up units in existing apartments for Veterans exiting homelessness. And they are situating new low-income housing for Veterans and others near employment hubs to ease access to well-paying jobs.
Committed to the White House and VA's mission of ending homelessness among Veterans by the end of this year, since early 2015 HPN has redoubled efforts to collaborate with staff from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and with community-based entities to devise creative solutions to some of the most pressing problems in housing. All of its members are committed to an HPN mission grounded in social responsibility. Ending Veteran homelessness neatly aligns with everything HPN members work toward every day to connect more Americans with safe places to call home.
Here are summaries of what a few HPN members are doing to expand affordable housing for Veterans:
- REACH Community Development Inc., a member based in Portland, Oregon, provides affordable housing across the metropolitan area. REACH owns and operates Gray's Landing, a streetcar-accessible building in downtown Portland where about 20 percent of the units—42 apartments—are set aside for formerly homeless Veterans referred by VA. A VA case manager is on site for 20 hours per week to assist Veterans overcome leasing or life challenges and to stay connected to the community. Other REACH properties house formerly homeless Veterans that are referred by VA and other locally based social services agencies. “VA case management has been a great resource to help Veterans get engaged in activities and connect them to other resources in town,” said REACH CEO Dan Valliere.
- Also expanding housing to low-income Veterans is ACTION-Housing, an HPN member that owns or operates about 1,800 affordable housing units in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area and surrounding counties. The group recently began constructing a new building set to open in January 2016 that will prioritize housing for Veterans. The mixed-use Penn Mathilda apartments will preserve half of its 39 units for low-income Veterans. Located in a commercial corridor near two major hospitals, the building provides residents with easy access to employment opportunities, said Lena Andrews, planning and development officer for ACTION-Housing.
- Creating more permanent supportive housing for Veterans in the Midwest is a current focus of Heartland Housing an Chicago-based HPN member providing affordable housing to Veterans and other vulnerable populations in that city and throughout the upper Midwest. Executive Director Michael Goldberg said Heartland Housing will soon break ground on a new 60-unit permanent supportive housing building in Madison, Wisconsin, where 20 of the units will be reserved for homeless Veterans. “Homeless Veterans may have unique challenges, but in many ways they're not unlike the other vulnerable populations that we serve,” Goldberg said. “To us, safe, decent, affordable housing is the foundation that's needed for them to overcome their instability and move their lives forward.”
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