Up until now when a homeless veteran was given a transitional home under a V.A. program, such as mental health services or substance use counseling, they could stay there for 2 years for free. So when that comes to an end, vets were often left stranded. Luis Paulino with Healthcare for Homeless Veteran’s program explains.
“The funding streams are designed very differently, so you’re not permitted to go from shelter-to-shelter-to-shelter-to-shelter. That’s not ending the problem. The person is still sort of draining the economy. You want a suitable stable situation, so the goal is to put them in permanent housing with other supports.”
That’s the aim of this new V.A. grant.
“This is called a 'Transition in Place' grant. It’s very new, which means that the person comes in and look at the apartment instead of 'hey I like it here.' 'I think I’ll stay here.'”
Houston is one of 38 destinations for this grant which comes in at a little over $1 million dollars. Twenty-five beds on Fondren Road have been ear-marked as these "Transition in Place" properties. Paulino says it’s just the beginning.
“The VA has a five year plan to end homelessness among veterans. So there’s lots of money, new program development coming up in conjunction with our community partners, local counties, city governments to address the problem. So there’ a real comprehensive effort.”
Four-point-four billion dollars, in fact, will be going to homeless V.A. programs nationwide in the coming year.