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Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) financial assistance program.

Veterans, as well as their families, can get financial help for their housing needs, as well as other support, from the SSVF program, also known as the Supportive Services for Veteran Families. Find how to get everything from emergency rental assistance to help moving, grants to pay for security deposits or storage costs, employment resources, free motel rooms and so much more below. The federal government, and the local charities that operate SSVF near you, take a multi-faceted approach to preventing homelessness and/or rehousing currently homeless veterans.

The federal government created this program, and local non-profits, charities, or state agencies administer it as well as accept applications. Supportive Services for Veteran Families is designed to stop evictions, foreclosures, utility disconnections (which could lead to homelessness) and more. SSVF can also rapidly re-house homeless veterans for those facing the imminent risk of a housing crisis. The financial aid and case management service is administered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

SSVF Rapid Re-Housing and Homelessness Prevention Programs for Veterans

SSVF is considered a "rapid" re-housing program that utilizes a Housing First Approach. Under this concept, housing is considered to be a basic need to be met as quickly as possible without preconditions. This includes a free voucher for hotel or motel rooms to veterans who are currently homeless.

The primary focus of the SSVF program is to quickly provide short-term financial assistance to prevent the loss of a residence. Veterans can get help to pay everything from a rent or mortgage to water, electric, or other utility bills. The program can also help move a homeless veteran and family into a safe and affordable home or apartment. The ultimate goal of the SSVF program is for a veteran and his or her family to achieve long-term housing stability.

The VA does not maintain a stock of rental housing into which veterans can be placed. Instead, funds are provided to several hundred non-profit organizations, charities, department of social or human service offices and consumer cooperatives across the country. These organizations are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Applying to Supportive Services for Veteran Families

Examples of organizations that operate the SSVF program are Goodwill, the YWCA, Catholic Social Services, Volunteers of America, United Way, The Salvation Army and numerous veteran-focused as well as housing advocacy organizations. There may also be veteran focused programs at community action agencies or a local county or city social service office near you as well. There are many application sites.

 

 

 

Veterans must apply through those organizations listed above for financial assistance that may include payments for rent, security deposits, application fees, utilities and moving costs. Payments are made directly to the landlord, utility or business. Learn more on United Way rental assistance.

The time that financial assistance will be provided is limited. There can be money to pay rent, utilities, mortgages, a security deposit, or really any type of housing expenses. These SSVF programs are intended to provide short-term intervention. Once a veteran family has been approved to receive financial aid and services, payments will be provided for 90 days. Recertification is required to remain in the program for an additional 90 days.

During the recertification process, the participant's income, housing status and need for continued SSVF services will be reviewed. There is also an assessment of the veterans assets, such as savings, investments, and the like. The amount of financial assistance provided and the level of services required may be increased or reduced as a result of that review.

Whether the program participant still qualifies as a veteran family will also be reviewed. If the qualifying veteran dies or becomes absent from the household while other family members are receiving SSVF services, those services may continue during a grace period established by the organization operating the program. The grace period cannot exceed one year.

Long term housing resources

Once the immediate housing crisis is resolved, veterans as well as their families will receive assistance to connect with programs that provide other VA or public benefits. The goal with this part of SSVF is to ensure everything possible is done to make the new home-apartment permanent. The supportive services provided under the program are flexible and tailored to meet the specific needs of the veteran and family.

To obtain long-term housing, a veteran might be referred to the HUD-VASH program. This is a collaborative program operated by the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In this program, HUD provides rental assistance vouchers that veterans can use to obtain privately-owned housing.

 

 

 

 

While not always the case, in general it is an income based voucher. Many HUD and VA section 8 programs work that way, and veterans can benefit from them as well. This in effect means the veteran and/or their family also needs to pay a portion of their income towards the housing costs. It is a similar concept to section 8 housing near you. This is offered while the VA provides veterans with support services similar to those of the SSVF program

As part of SSVF program terms, veterans will be assisted to find employment that will provide the income needed to maintain stable housing and become self-sufficient. For example, a referral might be made to the Department of Labor's Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP) which is a veteran-specific employment and training program. There is also budgeting, financial literacy, credit repair, and similar services that are part of SSVF.

Additionally, SSVF program providers help veterans to eliminate obstacles that often create challenges to finding or keeping a residence. This assistance may include referrals to a food bank, mental health or substance abuse counseling and to organizations that provide health care, child care, transportation, legal and housing counseling services. As noted, a mufti-faceted, wide range of approaches are taken to help those families who have served our country.

Veterans receiving benefits are expected to work with a case manager toward developing a plan that will ultimately allow the veteran to assume responsibility for rental payments. A key driver of this is around employment or maybe even starting a business.

The Shallow Subsidy SSVF Service

The VA also offers, in some cases, another housing service called the Shallow Subsidy.  This is part of  both SSVF as well as HUD-VASH, and it will assist veterans and their families living in high-cost or low-vacancy rental markets. The Shallow Subsidy service provides less financial support but extends the time during which financial assistance is provided. This has a few benefits, namely that it will give veteran families additional time to find stable and affordable permanent housing.

Under this service, only 50% of the rental cost is covered, but the household receiving the assistance is guaranteed that payment for two years without having to be recertified. The monthly payment amount remains the same during this time even if the family income changes. Payment may end before two years if the family terminates their housing or obtains a permanent rental subsidy.SSVF Veteran housing program

Eligibility and Applying for Supportive Services for Veteran Families

To qualify for SSVF assistance, a person must have served in the active military for at least one day. Veterans who were dishonorably discharged or dismissed following a general court-martial are not eligible. The applicant must be a veteran or a member of a veteran family in which the head of the household or the spouse of the head of the household is a veteran.

The veteran family's income must be less than 50% of the area's median income. This ensures the region/state of residency is considered, as median household incomes vary widely based on geography. The applicant must either be "literally" homeless, imminently at risk of becoming homeless (such as having an eviction or foreclosure notice) or fleeing domestic violence.

"Literally homeless" means the current residence is a park, vehicle, on the street or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing. SSVF will help veterans who in effect have no secure, stable place to go to each night. This also includes persons who have been in an institution for less than 90 days, including jail, and who were literally homeless before entering the institution.

Being "imminently at risk of becoming homeless" includes people who are currently residing in permanent housing such as a leased unit, a home with a mortgage, another person's residence or a motel room not paid for by government or charitable organizations. The veteran must be facing the loss of their primary nighttime residence within 30 days or less of applying for SSVF assistance. Applicants in this category must provide proof that they are required to leave their current housing.

 

 

 

 

Applicants to the SSVF program will also be required to show proof of veteran status. This can be a veteran ID card, DD 214 or a letter from the VA. Proof of income, assets, lease agreements and eviction notices will be requested.

To find an SSVF service provider, contact your state's agency that deals with veteran affairs or a local V.A. office. You can also go online to www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp and select the folder on that page review a list of current providers of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program near you.

 

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