Mayor Walsh Joins Brighton Marine Health Center to Announce $200,000 Homeless Veterans Housing Fund
November 11, 2015
To honor Veterans Day, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined the Brighton Marine Health Center Board of Directors to announce that Brighton Marine established a $200,000 endowment to support the Mayor's Homes for the Brave initiative, with the goal of bringing a functional end to veterans homelessness in Boston.
The endowment will create the Homeless Veterans Housing Fund, which will fill the current gaps in funding that can delay the process of securing permanent housing for Boston area veterans. The fund has already assisted 18 veterans by disbursing payments of up to $2,000 each. The fund makes awards to organizations specializing in assisting homeless veterans with housing placement.
"No one who has served our country should be homeless - and in Boston, we're committed to giving our veterans the resources they need to succeed," said Mayor Walsh. "I thank the Brighton Marine Health Center for their partnership in this effort. The Homeless Veterans Housing Fund is an integral tool to support our fight to end homelessness among our veterans."
"Out of approximately 300 veterans in Boston without permanent housing, some 50 are holding Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) subsidized housing certificates, but many are unable to secure housing because they lack funds for costs that VASH does not cover, such as security deposits, first month's rent payments, moving costs, brokers' fees, and rental application fees," said Brighton Marine's Chief Executive Officer, Michael Dwyer. "For many veterans, these relatively small, one-time costs can spell the difference between permanent housing and spending more time in a shelter or on the street."
Veterans will be able to receive up to $2,000 from the fund. Costs considered under this fund include:
- Security deposits
- Application fees
- Outstanding utility debt
- Pro-rated rent gaps up to 15 days (to allow for vacant unit inspection if previous tenant is moving out end of month)
- Veteran's portion of first month rent
- Broker fees
The City of Boston is committed to connecting Boston's military families with the resources and assistance they are entitled to. Earlier this year, Mayor Walsh released "An Action Plan to End Veteran and Chronic Homelessness In Boston: 2015 - 2018", which outlines the City's strategies to transform Boston's homeless response system in order to end veterans homelessness by 2015 and chronic homelessness by 2018.
In July of 2014, Mayor Walsh announced that the City of Boston signed on to First Lady Michelle Obama's Mayoral Challenge to end homelessness among veterans. As part of the "Homes for the Brave" initiative that was launched as a result, the City of Boston has committed to putting a functional end to veterans homelessness by the end of 2015. Putting a functional end to homelessness means that:
- No veteran will be forced to sleep on the streets;
- When a veteran becomes homeless, it is rare and brief; and
- All homeless veterans will be housed or on a pathway to stable housing by the end of the 2015
At the time of the launch, there were 414 homeless veterans in Boston. Since then, 484 homeless veterans have been housed. New veterans continue to enter the system; however, the average length of stay in shelter among veterans has been reduced. At the start of the initiative, 50 percent of homeless veterans left shelter in less than six months; today, that number has increased to 70 percent.
Last week, the City, along with 11 partner agencies, hosted the first ever "housing surge" for veterans at the Pine Street Inn. Sixty homeless veterans met with representatives to better understand the housing resources available to them.
Over the weekend of Saturday, November 7 and Sunday, November 8, hundreds of volunteers went door-to-door throughout the City of Boston to personally thank the men and women who have served in the U.S. Military and provide them with the resources available to them as veterans living in Boston.
To honor Veterans Day, Mayor Walsh has lit the balcony outside the City Council Chambers red, white and blue to honor the men and women who have served our country.
ABOUT BRIGHTON MARINE HEALTH CENTER
Since 1940, Brighton Marine Health Center has provided clinical and social service resources to the Allston-Brighton community. Particular services focus on supporting the community's veterans and their families. Brighton Marine currently works with the Veterans Administration and the City of Boston, and is in the process of expanding the network of agencies authorized to receive funding through the Homeless Veteran's Housing Fund. For more information about the fund, visit Brighton Marine Health Center's website at http://www.brighton-marine.org.