VA Offering Cash Subsidies to Help Low Income Veterans Afford Housing

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working with local partners across the U.S. to offer a cash subsidy to help low-income veterans afford housing in high-rent communities.

The rent subsidy program, which is known as the "Shallow Subsidy Initiative", is managed by the VA's Homeless Veterans' division. It’s aimed at helping at-risk veterans avoid homelessness and obtain and maintain suitable housing.

The program also includes a partnership between the VA and the Department of Labor's Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program to enroll needy veterans in employment and training programs to help them become economically self-sufficient and able to afford better housing. Job training is provided to help them develop job skills and get better jobs so they become economically self-sufficient.

Both programs are partnerships between the federal government and local non-profit organizations.

The cash grants will assist with rent for up to two years for veterans living in areas that have high rates of homelessness and a low available inventory of affordable housing. Currently, the following locations qualify for the program:

  • California: Alameda (including Oakland), Contra Costa, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara
  • District of Columbia: Washington
  • Hawaii: Honolulu
  • Illinois: Cook County
  • New York: New York City and Bronx, Queens, Kings and Richmond counties
  • Washington: Seattle

The subsidy varies by location, family size, housing cost and income. For example, a family of four living in Chicago may be eligible for the subsidy if their household income is below $44,500 while a family in Seattle may be eligible if their income is below $54,300.

The programs are part of the VA's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, which seeks to prevent homelessness of very low-income veterans and help veterans climbing out of homelessness obtain and maintain suitable housing.

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.

Veterans who live in any of the targeted communities and are interested in the program should visit the Homeless Programs Office at their local VA medical center or contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for more information.

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