Armando Fana & Marcus Goodson
FORT MYERS, Fla. (July 15, 2013) – The U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development recently presented the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers with $321,960 in supportive housing assistance to help chronically homeless military veterans and their families in Lee and Charlotte counties find a permanent place to call home.
The presentation was made during the Southwest Coast Homeless Workshop on Thursday, July 11 at Florida Gulf Coast University. Nearly 100 attendees from across nine Florida counties participated in the free workshop presented by HUD’s Miami Field office. Workshop sessions included supportive housing programs eligibility and governance; emergency solutions grant program and partnerships; new homeless definition; fair-housing requirements and veteran’s homeless programs.
The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program combines Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. HUD-VASH is designed to help homeless veterans, many of which are living with chronic disabling conditions, receive services that will assist them in rejoining the community. Veterans who have spouses and dependent children are also eligible to participate.
“Homelessness is the great American tragedy, and we applaud what HUD is doing to help us help our veterans have access to safe and affordable housing,” said HACFM’s Executive Director Marcus D. Goodson. “We have developed more than $100 million in affordable housing, and we could not have done it without HUD.”
“This funding is providing veterans and their families with hope, a home and a future,” said Armando Fana, HUD Miami field office director. “This program has helped us end homelessness among tens of thousands of homeless veterans and their families.”
For veterans to participate in HUD-VASH, they must be homeless, eligible for VA medical care and have an identified clinical need for case management in order to obtain and sustain independent community housing.
Every year since 2008, HUD and VA have awarded HUD-VASH vouchers based on geographic need and public housing agency administrative performance. The allocation process for HUD-VASH vouchers is a collaborative approach that relies on three sets of data: HUD’s point-in-time data submitted by Continuums of Care, VAMC data on the number of contacts with homeless veterans and performance data from PHAs and VAMCs. After determining which areas of the country have the highest number of homeless veterans, the VA Central Office identifies VA facilities in the corresponding communities. HUD then selects PHAs near to the identified VA facilities, taking into consideration the PHAs’ administrative performance and sends the PHAs invitations to apply for the vouchers.
HUD has awarded funding for approximately 10,000 HUD-VASH vouchers each year in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. There is at least one site in each of the 50 states, in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. In 2011, $50 million was appropriated to serve approximately 7,000 voucher families. In addition, HUD set-aside $5.4 million from its 2010 allocation to competitively award more than 600 project-based vouchers to existing HUD-VASH sites. Since 2008, a total of 48,385 vouchers have been awarded.
Currently, the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers serves more than 3,500 low-income families throughout the greater Fort Myers community. The HACFM provides high-quality, stable and sustainable housing and related services to people in need. In addition, the staff works diligently in providing programs such as Resident Services/Family Self-Sufficiency and HOPE VI Community Supportive Services. The goal is to help families become self-sufficient, therefore strengthening the communities that use public and private resources efficiently and effectively.
The HACFM serves as a catalyst for increasing access to safe, affordable housing, and helping develop, preserve and revitalize communities through affordable rental housing. The agency is dedicated to empowering families with the means to become as self-sufficient as possible, encouraging and facilitating movement toward financial independence beyond the need for HACFM services, while recognizing the needs and limitations of the mentally and physically disabled, aged and infirmed.
For more information or for assistance, please call 239-332-3825.