By Susie Steckner
The city of Tempe is expanding its housing options for veterans who are experiencing homelessness and wants to partner with landlords who have rental properties across the city.
As part of a pilot program, the city’s housing services division plans to place 10 veterans in subsidized housing with case management services that will help them lead independent lives. The pilot is part of a larger federal program, called HUD-VASH (VA Supportive Housing), aimed at helping veterans overcome the challenges of homelessness.
“The city of Tempe is continually looking for opportunities to broaden the housing assistance available and needed by the community,” said LeVon Lamy, housing and revitalization manager for the city’s housing services division. “By taking part in the HUD-VASH program, we are not only expanding our housing efforts but also serving a vital population—military veterans—who have served our country.”
An estimated 13 percent of Americans who are homeless have served in the military. The HUD-VASH program is credited with helping tens of thousands of veterans find housing nationwide.
The program brings together local public housing authorities and two federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Through the program, eligible low-income veterans receive a Section 8 rental voucher plus case management and supportive services for veterans.
The city of Tempe will launch the pilot program in July and is seeking landlords with all housing types to participate. Among the benefits for landlords: Monthly rent is paid directly through the local housing authority, and the program can meet competitive rental rates; landlords set their own security deposit amounts, based on local standards; third-party inspections help maintain quality; tenants take part in ongoing case management, which provides a safety net for them and lowers default risks.
As important, Tempe’s housing services specialists provide direct support to landlords to find solutions together. They also work to find the best housing fit for individuals to boost their success in the program.
“We’re able to reasonably accommodate a tenant’s needs,” said Val Sarver, housing services specialist for Tempe.
Tempe’s housing services division provides more than $10 million in housing assistance to residents in Tempe through a range of programs.
In the past two years, the city has added several new housing initiatives, including the HOME TBRA program to provide subsidized housing to domestic violence victims who are facing or experiencing homelessness and the MMIC BRIDGE program aimed at housing people with serious mental illnesses.
The new HUD-VASH program will initially serve 10 veteran families but could be expanded if additional landlords agree to participate, Lamy said.
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