VA Offers $600 Million in Funding to Support Services for Homeless Veteran Families

January 14, 2014

  Grant Program One of Many VA Initiatives to End Veterans’ Homelessness
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the availability of up to approximately $600 million in grants for non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives that serve very low-income Veteran families occupying permanent housing through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. 
“Those who have served our Nation should never find themselves on the streets, living without hope,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “These grants play a critical role in addressing Veteran homelessness by assisting our vital partners at the local level in their efforts.  We are making good progress towards our goal to end Veterans’ homelessness, but we still have work to do.” 
The SSVF program is designed to assist very low-income Veteran families who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. The program employs a housing first model, an approach which centers on providing homeless Veterans with permanent housing quickly and then providing VA health care, benefits and services as needed. 
Required services include outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits, and providing or coordinating efforts to obtain needed entitlements and other community services.  Grantees secure a broad range of other services for participants, including legal assistance; credit counseling; housing counseling; assisting participants in understanding leases, securing utilities, and coordinating moving arrangements; providing representative payee services concerning rent and utilities when needed; and serving as an advocate for the Veteran when mediating with property owners on issues related to locating or retaining housing.  Grantees also offer temporary financial assistance that provides short-term assistance with rent, moving expenses, security and utility deposits, child care, transportation, utility costs, and emergency expenses. 
VA announced the availability of funds today through a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) via the Federal Register.  VA is offering $300 million in FY 2014 funds and $300 million in FY 2015 funds, subject to available appropriations.   VA will make award decisions based on a national competition.
In FY 2013, VA awarded approximately $300 million in SSVF grants for operations beginning in FY 2014.  VA is focusing up to $300 million in surge funding on 76 high priority continuums of care in an unprecedented effort to end Veterans’ homelessness in these communities.  In FY 2013, funding from the SSVF program served over 39,000 Veterans and over 62,000 participants (i.e., Veterans and their family members). 
In November, VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the results of the 2013 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, which was prepared by HUD.  The report estimated there were 57,849 homeless Veterans on a single night in January in the United States, an eight percent decline since 2012 and a 24 percent decline since 2010.
The SSVF program is authorized by 38 U.S.C. 2044.  VA implements the program by regulations in 38 CFR part 62.  More information about the program can be found at

VA Announces $600 million NOFA

January 14, 2014    

ISSUES  |  POLICY  |  SOLUTIONS  |  NEWS & EVENTS Forward Editor: Emanuel Cavallaro

Spotlight On...
VA Announces $600 million NOFA

Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for $600 million in homeless assistance grants for organizations that serve veteran families under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. SSVF is a housing first program designed to provide veteran families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless with permanent housing quickly, then health care and other services as needed. The funds will be split evenly between Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 and FY 2015, and subject to available appropriations.

Last week, House Appropriations Committee Chair Harold Rogers filed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to allow Congress three extra days (until January 18) to pass the omnibus spending measure, in order to ensure the government continues running beyond January 15 when the current stopgap funding measure expires. The omnibus appropriations bill is expected to pass through the House and Senate and be signed into law by this Saturday's deadline.
One of the key provisions of the legislation is language that would allow nonprofits to administer rental assistance through FY 2014 (retroactive to FY 2012 funds). The legislation of course includes funding for numerous federal programs impacting homeless and at-risk people, including:
  • $2.105 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, representing a $176 million increase over FY 2013 levels;
    • Including at least $250 million for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program;
  • $19.1 billion for HUD's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as tenant-based rental assistance (TBRA), representing a $1.412 billion increase over FY 2013 levels;
    • Including $75 million for new joint Department of Housing and Urban Development - Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers;
  • $4.4 billion for HUD's Public Housing Operating Fund, representing a $346 million increase over FY 2013 levels;
  • $114.141 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), representing a $4.141 million increase over FY 2013 levels;
  • $64.794 million for the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program within HHS, representing a $2.794 million increase over FY 2013 levels;
  • $74.562 million for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) homeless services programs within HHS, representing an $8.562 million increase over FY 2013 levels;
  • $38.109 million for the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) within the Department of Labor, representing a $2.109 million increase over FY 2013 levels; and
  • $1.39 billion for programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs specifically targeted to eliminate homelessness among veterans, representing a $38 million increase over FY 2013 levels;
    • Including $278 million for the case management portion of the HUD-VASH vouchers.
*Please note that the FY 2013 funding levels referenced above indicate post-sequestration levels.
Congress Departs for Recess
Once the omnibus bill has been approved in both chambers, Congress is expected to depart for recess for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. Congress is expected to reconvene on Monday, January 27.

Should you cancel your registration by the first deadline, which is tomorrow, Wednesday, January 15, the Alliance will deduct a $25 cancellation fee from your refund. Should you cancel your registration after January 15 but before the last deadline of Friday, February 14, the Alliance will deduct a $100 processing fee in addition to the $25 cancellation fee from your refund. After February 14, the Alliance will no longer grant refunds.

Please send your cancellations by email to Alliance Development Associate, Jennifer Olney, by fax to 202-638-4664, or by mail to National Alliance to End Homelessness, 1518 K Street, NW, Suite 410, Washington, DC 20005.

Last year brought significant challenges for homeless advocates, not the least of which included the across the board spending cuts under sequestration and a 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government. In this post we take a look at all that homeless advocates accomplished in the face of these challenges.
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