Yesterday the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs announced a plan to immediately slash the HUD-VASH program, a $265 million supportive housing voucher program intended to end veteran homelessness--until outcry from advocates and veterans organizations caused them to reverse that decision late last night. Although this shocking cut is off the table for right now, it will be back on the table for 2019. This is unacceptable and could potentially worsen the national scourge of veteran homelessness.
The NYC Veterans Alliance urges our community to call upon the VA and our Congressional delegation to protect the HUD-VASH voucher program in order to keep recently homeless veterans stable in permanent housing and to sustain a program that has effectively reduced veteran homelessness in NYC and nationwide.
Homelessness is not a problem to be "solved"--it requires a system of solutions to get homeless individuals the help and services they need, and support from transitioning from homelessness to shelter and into permanent housing. In NYC, city officials and Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) providers have worked diligently to move thousands of homeless veterans into permanent housing with the support and services they need. HUD-VASH vouchers have been the linchpin program behind our city's success in dramatically reducing veteran homelessness, even as homelessness overall has spiked in our city.
Although our city still has a long way to go toward overall housing stability for veterans, HUD-VASH continues to be both effective and vital toward any future progress. We cannot cut targeted programs that work. And we need more targeted policies and programs to sustain progress and ensure that every last veteran receives the help and services they need.
Veterans have stepped up to serve our nation when they were needed. Our nation cannot abandon veterans in their time of need.
Please tell our elected officials that cuts to HUD-VASH are unacceptable!