JASPER, TX (KTRE) - Homeless veterans are a forgotten group of our society but the Deep East Texas Council of Government is hoping to change that.
DETCOG has 25 Housing and Urban Development - Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers for homeless veterans in the DETCOG servicing area. The HUD-VASH program assists homeless veterans and their families afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing through the distribution of housing vouchers. Beneficiaries are selected based on certain requirements including health care eligibility, homelessness status, and income.
Homeless veterans and their families receiving HUD-VASH rental assistance must receive VA case management services until the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) determines that it is no longer necessary. Beneficiaries are not required to be chronically mentally ill or have chronic substance abuse disorders. However, chronically homeless veterans are a target population for HUD-VASH.
"In rural America, people think we don't have a homeless problem but we do," Veronica Thomas said. "Affordable housing just doesn't exist. They may not be living under a bridge or overpass but they are out there.
Thomas Warren is the Veterans Affairs coordinator for Sabine County. Warren said it is hard to find homeless veterans because they do not ask for much help.
"We are a special group," Warren said. "We usually stick together and do things on our own. We find a way to make it work. People think it is someone being lazy and not wanting to work but that is not the case all the time."
The HUD-VASH prioritizes housing first and then assists the Veteran with access to healthcare and other supports that promote stable housing and improved quality of life. The program combines Housing Choice vouchers for Veterans to rent privately-owned housing, and support through VA case management services that include health care, mental health treatment, vocational assistance, and job development.
"Let's get housing and then let's work on the health," Thomas said. "Let's work on the mental health, lets work on the other issues"
The DETCOG servicing area for the vouchers include Angelina, Houston, Hardin, Jefferson, Jasper, Newton, Polk, Sabine, Orange, Shelby, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Tyler and Trinity counties. If you are a veteran that needs assistance or if you know a veteran that needs housing assistance please call Thomas at 800-256-6848 Ext 5335 for more information. Additionally, if you are a landlord and would like to participate in the HUD-VASH program you should contact DETCOG.