VA Programs: Supportive Services for Veteran Families
In talking about the myriad issues faced by veterans, it’s important to remember that most veterans are part of an interconnected network of family, friends, jobs, and community. When veterans suffer, all the people around them are affected, too.
For that reason, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funds Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSFV), a program designed to help veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. SSVF services are provided by local nonprofits around the country, who receive grants from the VA.
Who Is Eligible?
According to the VA, SSVF households must meet the following criteria to participate in SSVF:
- Be a member of a Veteran family. This means that they must be “(a) a Veteran; or (b) a member of a family in which the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household, is a Veteran.”
- Be very low-income. Specifically, “household income [must] not exceed 50 percent of area median income.”
- Fall into one of three housing categories:
- “Category 1: Is residing in permanent housing and at risk of becoming literally homeless but for grantee’s assistance;
- “Category 2: Is literally homeless, and at risk to remain in this situation but for grantee’s assistance, and scheduled to become a resident of permanent housing within 90 days pending the location or development of housing suitable for permanent housing; or
- “Category 3: Is literally homeless after exiting permanent housing within the previous 90 days to seek other housing that is responsive to the very low-income Veteran family’s needs and preferences.”
What Do SSVF Include?
SSVF are centered around three core concepts: housing first, crisis response, and choice. Broadly speaking, the goal of SSVF services is to prevent at-risk veterans and their families from becoming homeless, and to re-house those who are already homeless.
More specifically, the services provided by SSVF may include:
- employment outreach
- case management
- assistance in obtaining VA benefits as well as mainstream benefits
- temporary financial assistance with things like rent, utility, and childcare
- housing navigation
- legal assistance
- other resources
Note that the services that each individual or family receives will look different depending on their situation and needs. Each grantee organization will work with clients to determine which services are most appropriate for them.
National Veterans Homeless Support seeks to eliminate homelessness among veterans in Central Florida and nationwide. NVHS takes a proactive, intervention-based approach to homelessness by meeting homeless veterans where they are and helping them from there. Through programs like Search and Rescue Outreach, NVHS helps homeless veterans get the supplies they need to survive, connects them with support and resources, and helps them transition off the streets and into temporary or permanent housing. If you’re able, consider supporting our mission by donating or signing on as a volunteer.