Over the last couple of years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has tried many approaches to combating homelessness among veterans to meet VA Sec. Eric Shinseki’s goal of eliminating veteran homeless within 5 years. The VA in downtown Los Angeles, working alongside non-profits, is targeting the 60 most persistent homeless veterans in downtown LA to get them into housing.
This initiative will see the VA doing the exact opposite of what they normally do as far as housing veterans. The VA will issue housing vouchers to the veterans who are the worst off. The majority of these veterans have mental illnesses and many are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
The agencies working together to bring “Vets to Home Project 60” have for years worked towards a similar goal independently and have no history of collaboration. Yet, these agencies have finally come together to form a unified front against homelessness. It is hoped the program will be able to be replicated in other areas of the country.
The VA will issue 60 section 8 housing vouchers for the veterans involved in this initiative. Project 60’s benchmark for success is moving these 60 chronically homeless veterans into permanent housing within 2 years.
Normally, the VA does not place homeless veterans into housing before those veterans are both sober and involved in some sort of treatment program. Project 60 has the VA placing veterans in housing without the previous qualifications. This time around the help comes after the housing. The one major issue facing Project 60 is their complete lack of funding.
Those involved in Project 60 hope a successful result will beget funding. The housing-first idea has not previously been available to veterans. That the VA is willing to attempt something so very different than what they have done in the past shows their dedication to exploring all options that may help get homeless veterans off the streets and into decent housing.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.