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How Landlords can Help End Veteran Homelessness
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Thirteen percent of U.S. adults who are homeless have served in the military—a staggering number, given that Veterans represent just 7 percent of the overall population. VA is working diligently to end Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015, and you can help.
If you have a rental property, consider participating in a program that has helped tens of thousands of Veterans and their families overcome the challenges of homelessness and lead independent lives.
What Is HUD-VASH?
The HUD-VASH program is a collaborative effort among the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and local public housing authorities. Under HUD-VASH (VA Supportive Housing), eligible low-income Veterans receive a Section 8 rental voucher plus case management and supportive services from VA.
- Guaranteed income: See reliable monthly rental payments through the local housing authority and fair market rent on your property.
- Having a say in security deposits: Set your own amount based on local standards.
- Annual property recertification: Third-party inspections help to maintain quality.
- Benefit of VA services: Ongoing case management provides a safety net for tenants and lowers default risks.
- A chance to honor those who served: HUD-VASH landlords are part of the solution to ending homelessness among Veterans, who sacrificed so much to keep our country safe and free.
5 Steps to Become a HUD-VASH Landlord
- Contact your local public housing authority to fill out the required paperwork, secure a spot on a list of approved HUD-VASH properties, and find out more about the HUD-VASH program.
- Schedule a HUD Housing Quality Standards inspection to make sure your property is up to code.
- Find eligible Veterans by promoting your property as one that accepts HUD-VASH vouchers or by contacting (hyperlink: http://www.va.gov/directory) the VA homeless coordinator in your area.
- Screen tenants and have them approved by the housing authority.
- Have your tenant review and sign your lease. Initial lease terms are generally 12 months and can’t be broken without the owner’s approval.
Housing Inspection Tips
Addressing important maintenance issues can help your property pass a housing inspection the first time around.
Make sure your unit has:
- Working smoke alarm(s)
- Proper ventilation in bathrooms (window or fan)
- Connected utilities
- A functional stove and refrigerator
- A window in every bedroom that can stay open without props
- A working water heater discharge line and pop/relief valves
- Handrails for steps
- Secure railings for porches and balconies
Make sure your unit does not have:
- Broken or missing locks
- Broken or missing windows
- Bugs or vermin
- Tripping hazards on the floor
- Exposed electrical wiring
- Chipping or peeling paint inside or outside
Contact your local housing authority for specific requirements.
Other Ways to Serve Homeless Veterans
- Lower the threshold: Consider renting units below the market rate to Veterans who were homeless.
- Get involved: Organizations like The Home Depot Foundation and Habitat for Humanity have programs and resources dedicated to building and renovating homes for Veterans.
- Make the call: If a Veteran you know is homeless, at imminent risk of becoming homeless, or in crisis, refer him or her to VA. Make the Call to 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838) or chat online at va.gov/homeless. Trained, supportive professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to connect Veterans with the care they need to get back on their feet.