March 17, 2010
HOUSTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates about 107,000 Veterans (male and female) nationwide are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year. Many other Veterans are considered near homeless or at risk because of their poverty, lack of support from family and friends, and dismal living conditions in cheap hotels or in overcrowded or substandard housing.
The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is committed to ending the cycle of homelessness among Veterans. A new initiative toward this goal is the HUD-VASH Program; a collaborative partnership with the VA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and local community agencies.
In this program, now expanded from the Houston-area to the communities surrounding Beaumont and Galveston, HUD provides Housing Choice Section 8 vouchers while the VA provides supportive housing through case management and supportive services for eligible homeless Veterans.
In the Beaumont area, the Deep East Texas Council of Governments and Economic Development district distributes the vouchers to Veterans in need.
In the Galveston area, it is the Galveston Housing Authority which covers Galveston, Hitchcock, Dickinson, Bay Cliff, San Leon, League City, and some parts of Houston.
This therapeutic program provides permanent independent housing for eligible homeless Veterans.
In order to qualify for the HUD-VASH Program, a Veteran must be homeless, living on the street, in their car, an abandoned building, an emergency shelters, or in a transitional housing program. Additionally, the Veteran must need and be willing to participate in case management due to mental illness, substance abuse, medical problems, or other significant problem that requires case management support. He or she must be interested in participating in a recovery program while in the HUD-VASH program. The Veteran will be expected to actively participate in a treatment program to include keeping scheduled appointments and following recommendations from his or her treatment team.
Veterans with spouses and children are also eligible to participate as long as the Veteran is actively participating in the HUD-VASH program.
If you know a Veteran who needs assistance, please contact E. Elaine Robinson, L.C.S.W., 281-513-3128; Alicia McCarthy, L.C.S.W., 281-808-1004; or Luis Paulino, L.C.S.W., 713-794-7848 with the VA’s Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program. Veterans may also stop by the Beaumont VA Outpatient Clinic located at 3420 Veterans Circle or the Galveston VA Outpatient Clinic located at 3828 Avenue N for information.
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