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CAVHCS HUD-VASH Program Continues to Change Veteran Lives

Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program Manager
Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program Manager Jakia Sherrell-Thompson participates in the Point-in-Time (PIT) count at the SafeHouse in Columbus, Georgia. Home for Good, United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley and CAVHCS assessed the Columbus area’s homeless population’s needs.

Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System or CAVHCS, continues to improve the lives of Veterans by offering services that can make a difference in their wellbeing.

One of these programs is the Housing & Urban Development/VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, which assists Veterans who may be vulnerable and often has severe mental and physical health problems. 

“HUD/VASH is important because not only does the program provide Veterans with a home, it also provides them with pride, accomplishment, stability and so much more.  I love to see the look on Veterans’ faces when they sign their lease and are given the keys to their new place,” said HUD-VASH Supervisor LeJasmine Gary.

The HUD-VASH program partners with the local housing authority, which provides rental assistance vouchers for privately-owned housing. 

To be eligible, a Veteran has to be homeless or at imminent risk of being homeless and meet the income requirements, depending on the Public Housing Authority housing.  

Individuals who are not eligible for HUD-VASH are those individuals that are registered sex offenders or have a conviction for manufacturing methamphetamines.  

“Homeless Veterans are a vulnerable population and offering services that can make a difference to their health and wellbeing is a top priority of CAVHCS,” said Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program Manager Jakia Sherrell-Thompson.

This year CAVHCS opened the Columbus Downtown VA Clinic, which provides a comprehensive response to get homeless Veterans the assistance they need, including safe housing. 

We also held a Homeless Stand Down for more than 100 homeless Veterans at its Tuskegee Campus. 

“The Stand Down focused on both community agencies resources and VA. However, based on the pandemic this year, CAVHCS focused on ensuring that Veterans had access to VA programs that could assist with housing, medical and psychological support,” said Sherrell-Thompson. 

Homelessness among our Nation’s Veterans is declining in most communities but there is still work to be done to ensure that every Veteran has a place to call home.
“One of the challenges that homeless Veterans are facing at this time during the pandemic is locating affordable housing. A top priority for homeless Veterans is secure, safe and clean housing,” Sherrell-Thompson said.

Currently, CAVHCS works with seven public housing authorities: South Central Alabama, Montgomery, Tuskegee, Auburn, Opelika, Phenix City and Columbus, Georgia.  

The difference between HUD-VASH and housing choice vouchers offered for non-Veterans is that on the HUD-VASH program, Veterans are provided case management and support from the HUD-VASH team to include medical, emotional, and social support.

Should you know of homeless Veterans seeking housing resources, services are available via a walk-in clinic in Tuskegee, Alabama and Columbus, Georgia, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“If a landlord is interested in helping homeless Veterans, they can reach out to the CAVHCS homeless program at 334-727-0550, extension 52549 and ask to speak with the HUD-VASH supervisor,” said Sherrell-Thompson.

Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness can also contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance. 


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