(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that 25 housing vouchers worth $163,080 will be allocated to the Bellingham Housing Authority to help local homeless veterans move into stable housing. The vouchers are part of HUD's Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH program). Senator Murray provided $75 million nationwide to fund the HUD-VASH program in a Senate spending bill last year.
“This is another critical shot in the arm for efforts to get homeless veterans in Bellingham off the streets and into stable housing,” said Senator Murray. “Each one of these vouchers represents a year’s rent for someone who has sacrificed for our nation but is now struggling to find housing. For too long homeless veterans have been forgotten heroes. These vouchers will help us step up our efforts to provide all veterans with housing and the dignity that comes with it.”
Murray spoke about the need to continue the successful HUD-VASH program at a Senate hearing last month. Mike Brown, a formerly homeless veteran from Walla Walla, attended the hearing, along with Stephen Norman, the Executive Director of the King County Housing Authority.
Under the HUD-VASH program, Housing Authorities receive vouchers that can be used for rental assistance in the local community. The local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility then works on outreach efforts to identify homeless veterans who can be provided with vouchers. Each rental assistance voucher is valued at roughly $7500 and provides rental assistance for a housing unit for a homeless veteran and any family members. In addition to the rental assistance, local VA Medical Centers provide supportive services and case management to eligible homeless veterans.
Today’s announcement is part of an initial allocation of $59 million of the $75 million total to be distributed to local public housing agencies across 50 states and provide help to an estimated 10,000 veterans. Senator Murray included the $75 million for this program in the 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill which she oversees and which funds the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Senator Murray is also a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Veterans Appropriation Subcommittee.