The Phoenix City Council recently authorized the Housing Department to contract 100 additional vouchers under the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program that will provide rental assistance to homeless veterans receiving services through the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

As a result of the City Council’s April 4 action, the Housing Department will enter into a contract for 100 additional vouchers within two months, enabling the city to serve 595 homeless veterans and their families, up from the 495 vouchers previously allocated.

Since Jan. 25, the Housing Department and its partners have issued vouchers to 150 homeless veterans — 95 are in housing and 55 are searching for or in the process of leasing a housing unit.

The HUD-VASH program in Phoenix has grown into a seamless system of multiple organizations, all with the same goal of helping homeless veterans move from the streets into their own home, with the opportunity and tools to reintegrate back into society.

The city of Phoenix Housing Department received an award in 2011 for innovation in housing from Arizona National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, for streamlining the eligibility, voucher issuance and lease-up for the HUD-VASH program.

The award also highlighted the coordination and communication between the Housing Department and its partners to make a significant difference. Partners include the Veterans Administration and the city of Phoenix Human Services Department.

The VASH vouchers are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and case management and supportive services are funded by the Veterans Administration through the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Seventh Street and Indian School Road.

Homeless veterans may contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-424-3838, a free hotline that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and connects veterans and their families to trained counselors.

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