HUD, VA to provide permanent housing to 75 homeless vets in Hawai‘i

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i will share in $600,000 in federal grants that were awarded to public housing agencies in Hawai‘i to help homeless veterans transition into permanent housing.

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Erik K. Shinseki, a Kaua‘i native, announced the funding Tuesday.

The funds — $636,006 in total — will be used for permanent housing and intensive case management for more than 75 homeless veterans in the state. Honolulu’s housing agency was awarded $424,004, and $212,002 will be distributed to agencies on neighbor islands.

Last October, the Veterans Administration Homeless Veterans Outreach program identified 35 homeless veterans living on Kaua‘i.

Rachelle Russo, HID-VASH coordinator, said the federal money will be distributed based on need, and targets veterans who are chronically homeless — a person who is homeless for 12 consecutive months or has four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.

“This will definitely benefit veterans coming out of Hawai‘i by getting them off of the streets and into a home,” Russo said.

Russo noted that Hawai‘i’s homeless veterans have served in all wars and that private homeowners, along with the county’s housing agency, have worked to assist with housing homeless veterans.

The grant is part of the Obama administration’s “Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness,” which aims to end veteran and long-term chronic homelessness by 2015, according to a press release.

The grants released to Hawai‘i are part of a $75 million fund designated for the 2012 fiscal year to support an estimated 10,500 homeless veterans.

For more information about VA services on Kaua‘i, call 246-0497.

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