VASH Program to Help Homeless Vets

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 8:37am

A NUMBER OF AMERICA'S HEROES DON'T HAVE HOMES.

"THAT'S ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS ABOUT WORKING WITH THE HOMELESS IS THAT WE DON'T HAVE A SPECIFIC NUMBER; BUT A ROUGH ESTIMATE WOULD BE ANYWHERE BETWEEN 100-150 THAT ARE HOMELESS," SAYS PEDRO BUSTAMANTE, HOMELESS VETS COORDINATOR.

A RELATIVELY NEW PROGRAM, THE HUD VASH PROGRAM, WHICH STANDS FOR HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT V-A SUPPORTIVE HOUSING, IS TRYING HELP HOMELESS VETS FIND HOMES. THE HARLINGEN VA OUTPATIENT CLINIC IS AN AGENCY WORKING TO LINK LANDLORDS AND HOMELESS VETS.

THE GOAL IS TO DRASTICALLY CUT THE HOMELESS VETERAN POPULATION WITHIN A FIVE YEAR PERIOD. THAT WAS ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO.

PROBLEM IS, BUSTAMANTE SAYS NOT MAY HOMELESS VETERANS KNOW THERE'S HOUSING HELP OUT THERE.

THE VASH PROGRAM WORKS LIKE THIS....

"IT'S A SECTION EIGHT HOUSING VOUCHER AND IT'S THOUGH THE HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT. THE COASTAL BEND IS LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET 50 VOUCHERS DOWN IN THE VALLEY AND 75 UP IN CORPUS CHRISTI," SAYS BUSTAMANTE.

SO FAR, ABOUT FORTY VETS AND THEIR FAMILIES HAVE BEEN LINKED WITH VALLEY LANDLORDS, FOR EITHER APARTMENTS OR HOUSES, WHO HAVE JUMPED ON BOARD WITH THE PROGRAM.

"THE VOUCHER IS AN INDICATOR TO THE LANDLORD THAT THE PERSON HAS QUALIFIED FOR SECTION EIGHT SUBSIDY, AND THEY'LL KNOW PART OF THEIR RENT WILL BE COVERED BY HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND THE VETERAN WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PART OF THE RENT AS WELL," EXPLAINS BUSTAMANTE.

THE ENTIRE PROCESS, FROM SIGN UP, TO QUALIFYING AND MOVING IN...TAKE A FEW WEEKS.

BUT THE APARTMENTS ISN'T THE LAST OF THE HELP. ONCE IN, THE NEW RENTER IS GIVEN KIND OF LIKE A HOUSING SUPPLY STARTER KIT, FILLED WITH POTS AND PANS, CLEANING SUPPLIES, AMONG OTHER THINGS.

THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN HELP, THE HARLINGEN VA OUTPATIENT CLINIC IS ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR THE SUPPLY KITS.

IN THE MEANTIME, BUSTAMANTE IS HOPING MORE VETS WILL COME FORWARD TO CLAIM THE ASSISTANCE THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS OFFERING UP.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE VASH PROGRAM OR HOW YOU CAN HELP VISIT THE WEBSITE BELOW.

http://www.va.gov/homeless/hud-vash.asp

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