Veterans who are facing homelessness or are having trouble paying for housing can benefit from a number of community services and government programs both at the state and federal level. Some of these programs are run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), while others are administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or other branches.
In addition to helping veterans who need assistance with rental housing, the VA has several programs that enable veteran homeowners to make house payments. There are also housing resources for particular groups of veterans, such as those with disabilities and senior citizens. Below, learn more about the programs that veterans can use when they need help paying for housing or finding a place to live.
Understanding Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program
One of the most widely available housing resources is the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program offered through HUD. This program, referred to as HUD-VASH, provides housing choice vouchers (also known as Section 8 vouchers) to veterans and their families who are facing homelessness. Through HUD-VASH, veterans can receive affordable, safe and stable housing while also having access to case management and clinical services from VA medical centers or community programs.
Veterans qualify for HUD-VASH vouchers based on their homelessness status, income and eligibility for VA medical care. Although it was required in the past, veterans no longer need to have a substance abuse disorder or a chronic mental health condition to qualify.
Find Out About Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)
The SSVF program is designed to help very low-income veterans find immediate housing assistance. Through this service, veterans and their families can prevent the loss of their current home, find new housing when it’s time to move or find a more suitable place to live at any time. SSVF can help veterans who are on the brink of homelessness or who are already homeless and cannot find housing without the help of this program.
The SSVF program provides funding to nonprofit agencies and community groups that serve various communities. These groups are able to offer direct outreach for veterans in need of stable housing with the funding they receive from SSVF.
Learn About VA Homeless Veteran Assistance Center Services
If you are a veteran facing homelessness, the VA offers help through the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, which allows you to talk with a VA counselor at no cost. To contact the hotline, simply call 1-977-424-3838. Another way to get immediate help is to visit a local VA medical center to speak with a social worker.
About VA Home Loans
Depending on your situation, you may be able to benefit from a VA home loan. VA home loans provide qualifying veterans with the financial support needed to:
- Purchase a home.
- Build a home.
- Purchase and improve a home simultaneously.
- Improve a home with repairs.
- Make energy-efficient improvements.
- Purchase a manufactured home and/or lot.
- Refinance an existing mortgage or loan at a lower interest rate.
VA home loans can assist veterans in reducing monthly expenses compared to the cost of renting as well as obtain stable housing. Eligibility requirements for a VA home loan are based upon:
- Service length during war or peacetime.
- Discharge status.
- Other factors.
In some cases, a surviving spouse may be eligible to receive a VA home loan, so long as additional eligibility requirements have been met.
In most cases, VA home loans are obtained through private lenders and insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs. These loans provide numerous benefits, including the elimination of down payment requirements (in most cases), reduced closing costs and the elimination of any mortgage insurance premium (MIP) requirements.
To obtain a VA home loan, you must apply for a loan with an approved vendor. The vender can assist you in obtaining a certificate of eligibility (COE) from the VA. Alternatively, you can apply for a COE ahead of time online, by mail or by visiting your local VA office.
Find Out About Housing Assistance for Older Veterans
Older veterans oftentimes need different services when it comes to housing due to medical conditions or other factors. The VA provides a variety of housing programs that can help veterans who have retired and those who have specific medical needs. These include:
- Community nursing homes.
- Assisted living facilities.
- Medical foster homes.
- Adult family homes.
- State veteran homes.
- Armed Forces Retirement Homes (AFRHs).
These services provide housing in a residential community setting where veterans can receive the care they need. To get placed in a veteran nursing home or assisted living facility, veterans will need to have a qualifying medical condition or meet other requirements. In most cases, veterans can choose between different services to find the living situation that works best for them. Senior housing options may so be available to qualifying veterans.
Other Types of Housing Assistance for Veterans
If you’re a veteran, there are many programs designed just to help you. However, keep in mind that you can also receive assistance from non-VA housing programs as well. Many communities and local governments offer housing resources that do not require you to be a veteran. For example, other programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help you meet other needs if you have a low income.