Health Care and Housing for Homeless Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) looks into homelessness and health care issues affecting veterans through the use of several programs. Homeless veterans and those who need health care can subscribe to any of these programs and receive assistance from VA. Health care is provided through a network of community-based outpatient clinics, VA hospitals and VA Vet Centers, which veterans can access nationwide. Homeless veterans who require health care services can call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans and a responder will assess the needs of the veteran before organizing necessary assistance.

Health Care Services for Veterans

The Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program is one of the VA initiatives that facilitates access to health care for homeless veterans. Initially, HCHV was formed to provide community-based residential treatment for homeless veterans, but the program evolved to provide housing and other services besides VA care. Residential treatment is still provided by the HCHV, whereby veterans with serious mental diagnoses are placed in supportive community-based housing for special care.

Another similar program is the Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV) Program, which provides support care to sheltered and unsheltered veterans. Under the DCHV, residential care is provided to veterans with illnesses or rehabilitative needs, and this is done at specified VA medical centers or in the communities where the veterans reside. The participating veterans receive clinical care, along with social, vocational and educational services. Additionally, the VA runs a Homeless Veterans Dental program that offers dental care to eligible veterans.

Veteran’s Housing Assistance

In order to assist homeless veterans, the VA collaborates with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to run an HUD-VASH program that helps homeless veterans and their families to find sustainable housing for rent. VA managers who assist eligible homeless veterans to find housing also assist them with locating support services, such as health care, substance abuse counseling and mental health treatment. The HUD-VASH program also helps homeless veterans to maintain housing in the communities where they will be housed.

Another housing program is the Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem program, through which authorities, nonprofits and other organizations receive grants to create service centers or provide their own transitional housing for homeless veterans. Additionally, the Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Providers program sells VA-foreclosed properties at a discount to provider organizations so that the houses can be supplied to homeless veterans as a transitional housing solution. Also, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is another program offered by the VA that provides supportive services and case management to veterans who face imminent homelessness, veterans who need to be re-housed and veterans who need new and more suitable housing. SSVF funding is used by non-profit agencies and community cooperatives to house homeless or soon-to-be homeless veterans and their families. Such agencies and organizations receive veteran clients through referrals or outreach programs that are operated nationally.