Many programs are available through the federal and state governments for veterans housing assistance and permanent housing. Whether a vet is homeless or simply needs assistance with purchasing a home, these programs provide information, supportive services, assistance, and funding for veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a great place to begin when you have questions about housing.
The VA offers housing assistance through a variety of loan and grant programs. These programs make it easier for vets to purchase their own homes and stay in their homes if their financial situation takes a turn for the worse.
VA home loans offer a variety of benefits including allowing vets to buy permanent housing with no down payment or PMI. It’s also possible to use a VA home loan to borrow cash against your home’s equity, which allows you to pay for education, make home improvements, or invest in the future in other ways.
The VA also offers an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), which allows vets to refinance their existing VA mortgage and make it more affordable. Even if you aren’t struggling financially, this is a great program to check out because it allows you to reduce your monthly mortgage obligation and keep more of your money in your wallet. You can find out more about the IRRRL loan here.
Finally, veterans that have disabilities that are related to their time in the military might be eligible for a grant to make their current home more accessible. Grant money is available for widening doors, installing ramps, and making other modifications.
Care for Aging, Disabled, or Ill Veterans
The Veterans Administration provides in-home care that helps vets remain in their homes even if they have medical concerns. Many older and veterans with service-connected disabilities or post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD do not want to leave their permanent housing, but they are no longer able to care for themselves or their families need assistance with care.
This is a great program that alleviates some of the financial and emotional burdens of caring for a loved one.
Housing Facilities for Veterans
The VA offers several options for veterans who need a place to live.
The Armed Forces Retirement Home provides assisted living and care to retired vets. Residents also have access to wellness and recreation services. The Retirement Home has two facilities, one of which is located in Gulfport, MI and the other in Washington, DC.
Veterans at risk for becoming homeless or who do not have a place to live are eligible to receive assistance with transitional housing or supportive housing, foreclosure proceedings, employment, and health care, long-term care, and other supportive services. Since many veterans affected by homelessness also struggle with mental illness, the Department of Veterans Affairs also offers mental health assistance.
Veterans and their families who believe homelessness can make their situation a bit easier by:
- Updating state IDs, if necessary, and ensuring the license is valid in the state in which they will seek assistance.
- Putting belongings in storage, if possible.
- Setting up a PO Box to ensure important documents can be mailed to a secure location
- Packing a suitcase that includes the items needed for the interim, as well as important paperwork and medication
Finding Interim Housing
The VA offers access to a variety of temporary housing solutions. Each state has different facilities and requirements, so it’s important to check with your state’s facilities and determine if there is any cost to stay in a shelter or temporary housing, how long you can stay, and what types of services are offered at the facility.
For instance, some shelters offer overnight accommodations, while others provide transitional services and allow out to stay while helping you find a new home. Some facilities also offer access to job training, substance abuse treatment, mental health support, and domestic violence assistance.
Once you’ve dealt with the initial impact of homelessness and created a temporary solution, the VA can help you with a more permanent public or subsidized housing solution. Keep in mind there might be a waiting list for these types of housing, so you’ll want to apply as soon as you believe homelessness is a possibility.
Help for Homeless Veterans
The VA offers several programs that help homeless veterans get back on their feet and/or get the assistance they need so they are not forced to live on the streets.
The Homeless Veterans Assistance Center provides assistance with finding employment, safe housing, mental health services, and health care for homeless vets. The VA Homeless Veterans Resources offers access to resources at the federal, state, and local level, so veterans are aware of what is available and know how it can help their situation. To learn more about the Homeless Veterans Assistance Center, visit the program at Benefits.gov.
There is also a special program for homeless vets who are struggling with mental illness. The Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) offers assistance to vets who are homeless or headed in that direction who are dealing with mental health issues.
The Veterans Administration also works in conjunction with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist veterans with housing.
The program works with public housing authorities to provide rental assistance vouchers to veterans. The VA also connects vets with mental health, general health care, and substance abuse counseling when needed. The goal is to help vets get into homes and assist them in staying there.
There is also a Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program that helps vets by providing grants and per diem payments to state, local, and tribal governments. The goal is to establish transitional housing for vets and provide them with the services they need when they are homeless. There are more than 600 agencies across the country involved in the program and more than 14,000 beds are available to homeless vets. Veterans can remain in the transitional facilities for up to 24 months.
Finally, the Enhanced-Use Lease (EUL) program that allows land and buildings that are currently underutilized to be leased to private entities to set up housing and other support for veterans. Grant money can be used to establish and operate not only housing facilities, but also job training, financial management, personal care, fitness centers, and computer centers for vets.