VA Allocates $26.8 Million to Improve Legal Services for Homeless Veterans

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded $26.8 million in grants to 108 public and non-profit organizations. This initiative aims to enhance legal services for Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Increasing Efforts to End Veteran Homelessness

Ending Veteran homelessness remains a top priority for the VA and the Biden-Harris Administration. These new funds are part of the VA’s Legal Services for Homeless Veterans and Veterans At-Risk for Homelessness Grant Program. This year’s grants more than double the previous funding and increase the number of grantees by 37% over last year’s inaugural cycle.

“Every Veteran deserves access to safe, affordable, and permanent housing,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. He highlighted that legal support is among the most critical services for Veterans facing homelessness. The grants aim to address these unique civil legal needs as part of the broader goal to eliminate Veteran homelessness.

Impact of the Grants

The grants, made possible by the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D., Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, ensure that at least 10% of the funding supports legal services for women Veterans. Individual grants can reach up to $300,000 for a 14-month period starting August 1, 2024.

Grant recipients will provide a variety of legal services to Veterans, including:

  • Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Representation to prevent evictions.
  • Family Law: Assistance with child support, custody, and estate planning.
  • Benefit Claims: Help securing disability compensation and other benefits.
  • Criminal Defense: Addressing issues like outstanding warrants and driver’s license revocations that increase the risk of homelessness.
  • Discharge Upgrades: Helping Veterans improve the characterization of their military discharges.
VA’s Legal Support Reducing Veteran Homelessness

Legal challenges can be significant barriers for Veterans trying to secure stable housing. Issues like evictions, unresolved criminal cases, and lack of access to benefits can lead directly to homelessness. By providing targeted legal support, the VA aims to eliminate these obstacles.

The VA’s efforts have shown measurable progress. Veteran homelessness has decreased by nearly 5% since early 2020 and by more than 52% since 2010. The department also expanded healthcare access for homeless Veterans and called for a moratorium on foreclosures for those with VA-guaranteed loans.

Legal Solutions in the Battle Against Veteran Homelessness

Addressing legal needs is a key strategy in the broader fight against Veteran homelessness. The comprehensive approach includes increasing the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) for farmworkers, updating safety recommendations, and launching targeted outreach campaigns.

By removing legal barriers, the VA is working to place at least 41,000 Veterans experiencing homelessness into permanent housing this year. This initiative highlights the importance of coordinated efforts and sustained support to ensure that all Veterans have a safe and stable place to call home.

The VA’s allocation of $26.8 million in legal service grants marks a substantial step forward in the battle against Veteran homelessness. With increased funding and more organizations involved, this initiative aims to tackle the complex legal challenges that many Veterans face. Through these grants and additional support measures, the VA continues to move towards its ultimate goal of ending homelessness for all Veterans and their families.

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