WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Veterans Affairs disbursed $20 million in American Rescue Plan funds, Dec. 21, 2021, to VA Medical Centers to provide critical and life-saving emergency assistance to Veterans experiencing homelessness or those enrolled in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program during the coronavirus pandemic.
Through a time-limited congressional authority, VAMCs can use these funds to bring help required for safety and survival and to support stability and health for transportation and communications equipment and services.
“This unprecedented authority allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to meet the immediate needs of Veterans who lack stable housing, transportation to medical appointments, food and other essentials – all while helping them to achieve long-term housing and financial stability,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “COVID-19 transmission continues to rise this winter in many communities and these resources will help VA use these flexibilities to protect the health and safety of homeless and at-risk Veterans.”
In 2021 VAMCs across the country helped more than 24,000 Veterans from May through November thanks to the expanded authorization described in section 4201(a) of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-315). VAMCs have purchased groceries, meals, apartment start-up kits, furniture, merchandise vouchers and laundry vouchers for Veterans experiencing homelessness. In addition, these funds have allowed for the creation of a nationally coordinated rideshare program which offers support to Veterans who need transportation to meet health, housing, legal and employment needs.
Veterans experiencing homelessness should visit their local VAMC for assistance and to take advantage of the support made possible by this authorization. These life-saving services are available to eligible Veterans who are experiencing homelessness or those participating in the HUD-VASH program.
For immediate assistance contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).
Learn more about this flexible assistance for homeless Veterans here.
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