WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced an additional $575,829 in federal funding for RIHousing and the North Providence Housing Authority to help homeless veterans and their families find and retain permanent housing.  The program combines rental assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with case management and clinical services from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

This amount of federal funding will help make up to 50 new permanent housing vouchers available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program to house homeless veterans and their families. 

This expansion was made possible by Senator Reed’s efforts to increase funding for HUD-VASH.  Veterans accepted in the HUD-VASH program receive assistance in vouchers to rent privately-owned housing.  The housing vouchers allow veterans and their families to live in market-rate rental units while the VA simultaneously provides them with case management and other services -- including health care, mental health treatment, employment assistance and substance-use counseling -- that help them stay housed.

“These new vouchers will help find stable homes for unhoused veterans and give them a chance to get off the street and back on their feet.  The housing market in Rhode Island is extremely competitive and we've got to look out for veterans and ensure they aren't left behind.  These HUD-VASH vouchers go beyond housing services to really help veterans with the services and support they need,” said Senator Reed, who noted the funding comes on top of the $15.7 million to help end homelessness in Rhode Island that Reed announced yesterday.  “These veterans have experienced real hardships, and HUD-VASH provides a critical lifeline for them, from finding them a place to call home to providing hands-on counseling and case management to help them get back on their feet.”

“RIHousing is ready to deploy these resources that will offer homeless veterans and their families the stability of permanent supportive housing,” said Carol Ventura, CEO of RIHousing. “Thank you to Senator Reed for securing this significant funding.  We look forward to working with our longtime partners at the VA Medical Center in Providence to deliver more housing to veterans and their families.”

These 50 vouchers will be made available on top of the 236 HUD-VASH vouchers Rhode Island had access to in 2022.

The number of homeless veterans in the U.S. peaked in 2007 during the ‘Great Recession,’ when the VA reported some 154,000 veterans were experiencing homelessness.  Today, an estimated 35,574 veterans nationwide experience homelessness on any given night in communities across the country, an increase of 7 percent over the previous year.

Reed says that the rising cost of housing in communities across the country and the end of COVID-related support programs to prevent homelessness could be two factors contributing to the recent increase and praised Rhode Island agencies and non-profits for collaborating and proactively reaching out to connect homeless and at-risk veterans to housing, health care, employment services, and other wrap around supports.

Veterans experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of becoming homeless may contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance.  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs founded the hotline to ensure that veterans in need have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors.  The hotline is intended to assist homeless veterans and their families, VA Medical Centers, federal, state and local partners, community agencies, service providers, and others in the community.