Tennessee receives federal funds to house homeless veterans

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 3:25pm

Tennessee housing agencies will receive 170 vouchers totaling $852,235 to provide permanent supportive housing to homeless veterans, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday.

The funds come as a piece of the $60 million HUD is providing to local housing agencies across the country in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program.

The Metro Development and Housing Agency will receive 55 vouchers totaling $269,162. Housing agencies in Memphis, Knoxville and Murfreesboro will also receive funds through the program.

“Our veterans have answered the call of duty. That’s why our nation has its own duty — to help homeless servicemen and women rejoin the very communities they have given so much to protect,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, in a release. “These grants make it possible to help more veterans obtain housing, bringing us steps closer to our goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.”

HUD’s annual estimate of the homeless population in 2012 found that veteran homelessness decreased by 7.2 percent since January of 2011, and 17.2 percent since January of 2009. On a single night in January 2012, 62,619 veterans were homeless, according to the agency’s release.

The HUD-VASH program allows veterans to rent privately owned homes. Veterans in the program typically contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent.

With $75 million appropriated for the program in 2013, the $60 million in grants announced Wednesday represent the first round of funding. HUD expects to announce more grants this summer.