April 22, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Angus King announced today that Maine has been granted more than $150,000 to address veterans’ homelessness in Portland and Augusta Maine.
As part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, this funding will go towards targeted vouchers that offer permanent supportive housing opportunities to veterans experiencing homelessness. This announcement marks the first and largest round this year of joint HUD-VASH Voucher awards to Public Housing Authorities across the country. Each of the housing authorities have also been partnered with either a VA Medical Center or a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC).
The Portland Housing Authority, in partnership with the VA Maine Health Care System and the Portland Community Based Outreach Clinic, will receive $46,837 supporting 8 vouchers. The Maine State Housing Authority, in partnership with the VA Maine Health Care System, will receive $117,071 supporting 23 vouchers.
“This March, I had the opportunity to speak directly with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, about the need for additional investments to ensure that Maine’s veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country are not homeless. During our conversation, I pointed out that while the number of homeless veterans nationally is down 10.5 percent from 2013, in Maine, veterans’ homelessness has declined by only 7.9 percent. I also highlighted for the Secretary the suggestion from Maine Veterans Service Organizations’ that housing for homeless veterans be located at the Togus campus, so that both men and women veterans can easily access appropriate patient care and carefully coordinated support services. Secretary McDonald shared my concerns and assured me that a top member of his team would be working on the issue. I know that Secretary McDonald is committed to taking action and that this necessary funding is an important step forward in our shared effort to end veteran homelessness for both Mainers and all of our veterans across the country,” said Senator Collins.
“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, and in turn, it is our responsibility to fight for them,” Senator King said. “The sad reality is that too many veterans don’t have a roof over their heads and are struggling to survive as they worry about where they’ll spend the next night. We can and must do more to support them – and this new funding represents a positive investment and commitment from the Department of Veterans Affairs to do just that. The fight to end veteran homelessness in Maine is far from over, but this announcement is a step in the right direction.”