New Housing Options for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: County-wide strategy to address housing
Washington County Department of Housing Services announced today it has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to offer Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers to 197 veterans’ households across the county. These vouchers are specifically for veterans experiencing homelessness to successfully transition into permanently affordable housing with accompanying case management provided by the VA.
Washington County has also set aside affordable housing for veterans in upcoming Regional Affordable Housing Bond projects. A new affordable housing project in Tigard called The Viewfinder has eight units set aside for veterans experiencing homelessness through a partnership with Veterans Affairs to provide supportive services. Residents will move in mid-December.
People who have served in the U.S. armed forces are significantly more likely to experience homelessness than the general public, said a Washington County spokesperson. The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs estimates there are over 1,300 veterans statewide experiencing homelessness on any given night plus many more are at risk of becoming homeless due to poverty, lack of support networks and poor living conditions.
“As someone who served in the U.S. Navy, I know firsthand the sacrifice of the men and women in our military,” said Washington County Commissioner Jerry Willey. “It is critical that we honor and support the service our veterans have given our country by ensuring they have access to affordable housing and much needed support services.”
The experience of homelessness and housing instability also disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x, Asian, Pacific Islanders, and other communities of color.
The voter-approved Supportive Housing Services measure was created to address the regional homelessness crisis. In its first quarter, the Washington County SHS Program launched several programs to expand permanent housing and supportive services that ‘wrap around’ people to provide stability and promote health, including:
Housing Case Management Services: scaled to serve up to 800 households per year.
Emergency one-month rent assistance: for culturally specific organizations and long-term rent assistance for people experiencing homelessness and disabling conditions
Bridge Shelter program: provides temporary shelter and services for people who have experienced prolonged homelessness, families, and people recovering from COVID.
For more information about Washington County Supportive Housing Services programs visit https://www.co.washington.or.us/Housing/SupportiveHousingServices/index.cfm. Washington County residents in need of assistance can contact 503-640-3263 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.