The Pinellas County Housing Authority took another step forward this week toward its goal of housing our nations’ veterans. Another 63 local homeless veterans will receive housing through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program. “It is a great day when we can provide additional affordable housing to those men and women who so bravely served our country”, said Joseph Triolo, Chairman of PCHA’s Board of Commissioners. PCHA also has a Veterans Preference in place for veterans currently on the waiting list for regular vouchers.
Permanent and supportive affordable housing are at the top of the list of the key strategies needed to improve outcomes and reduce homeless among our nation’s veterans. In the HUD-VASH program, VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) assess veterans experiencing homelessness before referring them to local housing agencies for these vouchers. Decisions are based on a variety of factors, most importantly the duration of homelessness and the need for longer term, more intensive support in obtaining and maintaining permanent housing. The HUD-VASH program includes both the rental assistance the voucher provides and the comprehensive case management that VAMC staff offers.
“We are thrilled to be a partner with C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center to house local homeless veterans”. As employment and training are also key elements to ending veterans homelessness, we stand committed to working with these veterans to coordinate Self-Sufficiency program services to further assist them in overcoming the barriers that they experience, and to help them in becoming self-sufficient”, said Debbie Johnson, PCHA’s executive director.
PCHA received the largest award of new HUD-VASH vouchers in the State of Florida this year. These new vouchers, worth $423,360 initially, will increase the number to 533 homeless veterans that receive HUD-VASH assistance from PCHA.