Services for Veterans

In Austin, over 900 Veterans have been housed and Veteran homelessness is down significantly since 2011 when Veterans accounted for over 14% of the homeless population. Currently, Veterans account for less than 3% of the homeless population. Texas has the second highest concentration of veterans in the nation and Austin is one of five areas of veteran concentration in the state. In 2016 the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness certified Austin as having effectively ended Veteran Homelessness. When we say we have “functionally ended” Veteran homelessness, we have reached a point where we are housing more Veterans than those who are being identified as homeless. This means that any Veteran who becomes homeless and wants housing will move into permanent housing within an average of 90 days of connecting with our community-based response system.

Support Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is made possible with funding to Front Steps from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. SSVF provides short term, rapid rehousing assistance with intensive case management to very low-income veteran families to obtain stable permanent housing. The SSVF program focuses on intensive case management to help participants increase their ability to sustain permanent housing and reach their greatest potential. Housing Stability Specialists will work with veteran families to identify their housing stability goals such as locating affordable rental housing, obtaining or maintaining employment, budgeting, or applying for VA and public benefits. In addition to working with a Housing Stability Specialist, the SSVF program is able to provide temporary financial assistance to the veteran household for some expenses relating to housing stability.

Our Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) is funded by the US Department of Labor. We work with veterans to secure employment, refer individuals to the Veterans Administration for benefits, and provide transitional or permanent housing to veteran households. Separation from the services, an event unique to veterans, is a major life change that may precipitate homelessness when the service person is insufficiently prepared for civilian life. Difficulty readjusting to civilian life frequently precedes a period of homelessness. Lack of employment, or underemployment, has also put housing out of reach for many veterans.

“Housing for Texas Heroes” funding from the Texas Veterans Commission allows Front Steps to diversify services currently provided to very low-income, homeless Veterans and their families. This project will work alongside and provide services not currently provided by “Supportive Services for Veterans/Families” (SSVF) funding from the VA. Our SSVF program focuses on intensive case management to help participants increase their ability to sustain permanent housing and reach their greatest potential. Housing Stability Specialists work with Veterans to identify housing stability goals such as locating affordable rental housing, obtaining or maintaining employment, budgeting, or applying for Veterans Administration (VA) and public benefits. We have funding for short term, rapid rehousing assistance to very low-income veteran families to obtain stable permanent housing and temporary financial assistance to veteran’s households for some expenses relating to housing stability. Department of Labor funding for our “Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program” allows us to provide job training and placement services that allows Veterans to secure and maintain stable housing.

Services for Veterans and their families are based out of our Veterans Services Office at 2211 South IH35 Suite 301 Austin, TX 78741.

 

  • Individuals or Households with Veteran Status
    • At least 1 day active duty
    • Discharge status of anything other than dishonorable
  • Household is experiencing literal homelessness. Per HUD 24 CFR 576.2 (1), “literally homeless” is defined as an individual/family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning:
    • An individual or family with a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, airport, or camping ground;
    • An individual or family living in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements (including congregate shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, State, or local government programs for low-income individuals)
    • An individual who is exiting an institution where he or she resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution.
  • Annual Household Income and Assets are at or below 50% AMI.

If you are unsure of eligibility, contact Front Steps staff who can assist with gathering required eligibility documents.

Complete a coordinated assessment to get on a centralized prioritization list for services:

  1. Come into Front Steps (500 East 7th Street) for an in-person assessment (Mon, Wed, Thurs, and Fri 9:30am-4:00pm and Tuesday 9:30am-12:00pm)
  2. Call the Caritas Intake Hotline for a phone assessment 512-472-4135 (Available Mon-Thurs 8:00am-4:00pm, Tues 8:00am-6:00pm, and Fri 8:00-10:00am)
  3. Follow up and contact Front Steps SSVF Program Manager Taryn Davis at tdavis@frontsteps.org.

Coordinated Assessment is a chance for you to let multiple programs in the community know that you would like some help finding housing. You will also get the chance to tell us what your housing and support needs are, and we will try to give you as many resources as possible.

  • The VA offers transitional housing through the Grant Per Diem program and permanent supportive housing program, HUD-VASH. Case management for these programs is provided by VA staff.
  • SSVF is a rapid-rehousing program funded by the VA. Case Management is provided by Front Steps staff.

Veteran Success Story: Nate

Working with Front Steps staff, Nate secured a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher. This program allowed him to have some freedom in choosing his potential housing. But, he recalls, “I fell in love with the first apartment I went to.” After 10 years of homelessness, Nate finally had a place that he could call “his own.” Thinking back to the day he moved in, Nate said, “It was the happiest day of my life. I want to cry right now just thinking about it. I think a bunch of new born puppies couldn’t have been happier.”

In 2009, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs set a national goal to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Since then, the VA has awarded funding to nonprofits throughout the nation to help achieve this goal. As part of this initiative, Front Steps was awarded multi-year funding to bring additional resources to the Austin/Travis County area to house veteran households. Austin signed on to the national initiative called The Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness as a way to solidify partnerships and secure commitments to end Veteran homelessness. This “Call to Action” was announced by the Secretaries of HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), and the National League of Cities.

Austin accepted the challenge under then Mayor Lee Leffingwell in 2013, continued the work with Mayor Steve Adler and reached the national benchmarks set for ending Veteran homelessness in late summer 2016. Over 900 Veterans have been housed and Veteran homelessness is down significantly since 2011 when Veterans accounted for over 14% of the homeless population. Currently, Veterans account for less than 3% of the homeless population. In 2016 the USICH certified Austin as having effectively ended Veteran Homelessness. When we say we have “functionally ended” Veteran homelessness, we have reached a point where we are housing more Veterans than those who are being identified as homeless. This means that any Veteran who becomes homeless and wants housing will move into permanent housing within an average of 90 days of connecting with our community-based response system.