CSH testified before the New York City Council yesterday on ending veteran homelessness. City Council’s Committee on General Welfare as well as its Committee on Veterans heard from CSH program manager Erin Burns-Maine, who explained which programs help veterans and what more needs to be done to ensure those living on New York City’s streets are housed. Burns-Maine said the best way to end homelessness is by placing homeless veterans in the most appropriate housing as quickly as possible. She also focused on two important federal housing programs for preventing veteran homelessness and providing subsidies for rehousing veterans.
The first is the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, which funds local service providers that support veteran families in maintaining their housing and also identify and place them into new housing when needed. The second resource is the Housing Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, more commonly known as HUD-VASH, which combines rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. Burns-Maine, however, cautioned Councilpersons that addressing each homeless veteran’s challenges calls for a commitment beyond these programs, including the creation of a new NY/NY supportive housing agreement. “There is a subset of veterans who will require more services and support to achieve housing stability. Forty-five percent of homeless veterans suffer from mental illness and fifty percent have substance use disorders. Homeless veterans are more likely to be chronically homeless than non-veteran homeless persons. Supportive housing is the solution for these most vulnerable veterans.”