Increasing Voucher Funding and Funding the NHTF Would Expand Assistance
More than 340,000 veterans received rental assistance as of March 2014. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) recently released a report showing that also shows that between 2010 and 2014, veteran homelessness fell by 33%.
CBPP attributes this decrease to the steady increase in the number of housing vouchers dedicated to veterans since 2008. While the Obama Administration has made progress towards its pledge to end veteran homelessness by 2015, the report shows that further work is needed to reach all veterans facing housing challenges.
Of the veterans who received rental assistance as of March 2014,
52% were elderly,
21% were non-elderly veterans with disabilities,
A total of 121,000 children live in the homes of assisted veterans, and
More than one-third (34%) of assisted veterans lived in households with incomes below the poverty line and 76% lived in households with incomes below 200% of the poverty line.
Approximately 50,000 veterans received rental assistance through the HUD-Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing Voucher program (HUD-VASH), which combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The nearly 300,000 remaining assisted veterans received rental assistance through other federal, state, and local programs, but primarily through the three main federal rental assistance programs: the HCV program, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and public housing.
Despite the existence of these programs, many veterans remain unassisted:
An estimated 1.8 million low income veterans are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities,
762,000 are severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50% of their income on rent and utilities, and
In 2012, 138,000 veterans stayed in a shelter for at least one night. HUD’s Point-in-Time Count in January 2014 identified 49,900 homeless veterans.
CBPP asserts that:
Policymakers need to protect existing rental assistance programs as well as expand the avenues for assistance,
Funding the National Housing Trust Fund through housing finance reform would result in more resources to meet the rental housing needs of extremely low income veterans, and
Creating a new state-administered renter’s tax credit could support additional low income veteran renter households.
Click here for CBPP’s report, Rental Assistance Helps More than 340,000 Veterans Afford Homes, but Large Unmet Needs Remain.