Mayor Walsh Announces City has helped secure $3.8 million to help homeless and at-risk veterans
October 6, 2014
Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that the City of Boston has helped secure $3.8 million in resources towards housing and preventing homelessness for veterans. The resources come in the form of a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for providing services to low- and very-low income veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and an award from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of 85 rental assistance vouchers for the VA Supportive Housing Program (VASH), valued at approximately $870,000, to enable homeless veterans to access affordable housing with an array of supportive services.
“When we announced the Mayor’s Challenge to end veterans’ homelessness in July this year, I said that it would take strong partnerships to achieve our goals,” Mayor Walsh said. “I am grateful to the organizations who worked together to win these resources. The collective work of the New England Center for Homeless Veterans and Pine Street Inn, along with the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development, the Boston Housing Authority, and the Boston Public Health Commission, has helped this city take a major step forward in ending homelessness for veterans. In addition, I appreciate the work of the VA and HUD in providing and distributing these funds. No veteran should have to sleep on the street or have no place to call home. Today, these agencies have brought us one step closer to realizing that vision.”
Through the three-year, $3 million award from the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (SSVF), New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV), in partnership with Pine Street Inn and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), will assist 675 veterans and their families within the Boston Continuum of Care (CoC). Of the 675 veterans and families served, approximately 270 households will receive prevention services to help them maintain their permanent housing, and 405 will receive rapid re-housing services to place them into permanent housing within 90 days.
“NECHV is honored to be working with the City of Boston, Pine Street Inn, BPHC and the VA in this new and important service program,” said NECHV President and CEO C. Andrew McCawley. “The Center has a strong history of collaboration with all our partners, and this grant will strengthen those relationships, ensure the right support is available to veterans in Boston, and help advance the success of the City’s campaign to end veterans’ homelessness.”
“Pine Street Inn is so very grateful to be one of the partners to receive these resources to help homeless veterans,” said Pine Street President Lyndia Downie. “We are proud to play a role, along with the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development, the Boston Housing Authority, and the Boston Public Health Commission, in bringing an end to the tragedy of veterans’ homelessness.”
In addition to today’s $3 million award, Mayor Walsh also announced that the BHA has been granted 85 VASH vouchers to assist homeless veterans in finding housing. The VASH program combines HUD housing choice rental assistance vouchers with support services from the VA Health Care system, in a program administered by the BHA with support from the Boston VA Healthcare for Homeless program. The vouchers, with an approximate value of $870,000, help veterans pay for rental housing, and are divided into two categories: tenant-based and project-based.
The 35 project-based vouchers awarded will be attached to an NECHV development project, currently underway, that will renovate several floors of the Center’s historic building at 17 Court Street into housing for formerly homeless veterans. The renovation will create 35 new efficiency apartments and fund the renovation of the existing 59 units, expanding the number and quality of permanent housing units set aside for homeless veterans. The City of Boston, through the Neighborhood Housing Trust, has contributed $1 million to the development.
The additional 50 VASH vouchers will be given to individual homeless veterans selected by the VA and referred to the BHA for a voucher. Those veterans with a voucher will receive assistance finding an apartment in the private rental market.
The vouchers are part of a total of $57 million in awards from HUD that will support more than 9,000 homeless veterans in finding permanent supportive housing.