After a long career in the military, veterans often return home to many challenges and uncertainties. Housing insecurity is an issue that plagues many veterans and servicemembers when they transition back into civilian life.
The number of veterans in the United States was 6.4% of the total population as of 2021, with about 1.5 million veterans in the US homeless and living under the federal poverty line. The other challenges veterans face in civilian life include joblessness, lack of other income sources, drug abuse, mental health issues, and the lack of rehabilitation and social support.
VA loans and grants are available to veterans and are aimed at mitigating their housing woes. These programs aid serving members of the US military, veterans, and the surviving family members of deceased veterans in purchasing new homes or modifying existing homes.
For most of the loans it provides, the VA covers part of the loan in the event of default by the borrower. By doing so, the VA ensures that its authorized lenders offer veterans more favorable terms than conventional lenders.
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Important Veteran Housing Statistics
Over the past few years, numerous US states have successfully brought down the number of homeless veterans and those living in substandard housing. Nevertheless, there are many veterans still struggling with housing security.
The following are some statistics from the HUD and the US Census Bureau that highlight veterans’ housing issues.
- According to the initial results of the Point-in-Time Count in November 2022, there has been an 11% decline in homeless veterans since 2020.
- 10% of the US population is comprised of veterans, and nearly 8% of the homeless individuals in the US are veterans.
- Homelessness among veterans is most prevalent among black veterans.
- Veterans experiencing homelessness in California account for almost one-third of all homeless veterans in the country.
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Veteran Housing Assistance Programs
Veterans spend a significant portion of their lives serving their nation. They have little or no opportunity to build or purchase their own home.
Various veteran housing assistance programs help them improve their living standards by purchasing or building their own homes or improving their existing home. The following grants and assistance programs can help veterans in this regard.
VA Grants For Home Improvement
In terms of VA home improvement grants, there are three different options, all of which have different purposes and eligibility criteria depending on the type of assistance provided by the grant and the intended recipients.
- Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant
- Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant
- Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grant
Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant
This VA grant is provided to veterans and military personnel who are suffering from disabilities as a result of injuries sustained during their service. This type of grant allows veterans to modify their homes and make them more adaptable to their disabilities so that they can live with more autonomy and independence.
For instance, ramps or the widening of doorways might be part of a home change to accommodate a veteran entering or exiting the house in a wheelchair. Applicants eligible for the SAH grant can receive up to $109,986 in 2023. SAH grants are currently limited to this maximum amount.
If you meet both of these requirements and wish to use the grant money to buy, build, or change your permanent home (the one you intend to reside in for a long time), you may qualify for a Specially Adapted Housing grant.
These two conditions must be met:
- You own a home, or you will own it, and
- The service-connected disability you have qualifies you for benefits.
The various service-connected disabilities that can qualify veterans for the SAH grant include the following:
- More than one limb is lost or is no longer usable.
- Having lost the use of a lower leg and having lasting effects from an organic (natural) illness or injury
- Insufficiency of vision in both eyes (less than 20/200).
- Burns of a certain severity.
- After September 11, 2001, losing or losing the use of one lower extremity (foot or leg) makes it difficult for the person to balance or walk without a wheelchair, crutches, or canes.
Special Home Adaptation (SHA) Grant
The SHA grant may be available if you plan to buy, build, or change a permanent home (the one you will live in for a long time). The maximum amount you can receive for FY 2023 from the SHA grant is $22,036 if you qualify. You must meet the following criteria to qualify.
These two conditions must be met:
- The home is owned or will be owned by you or a family member, and
- You suffer from a service-connected disability that qualifies you for the grant.
The following disabilities qualify as service-connected disabilities:
- Loss of both hands or the inability to use them
- Burns of a certain severity
- Respiratory injuries or breathing problems
It is up to you how much or little of your grant you need this year based on the adaptions you need and your builder’s bid. Grant money can be used for more than one year if you don’t use the full amount.
Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) Grant
The TRA grant is for veterans or servicemembers who live in temporary homes. Meeting these requirements will allow you to apply for a Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) grant.
The TRA grant program for FY 2023 offers up to $44,299 for those who qualify for SAH grants. Through the TRA grant program for FY 2023, you can receive up to $7,910 if you qualify for an SHA grant.
These two conditions must be met:
- You qualify for a SAH or SHA grant.
- Changes are needed in a family member’s home so that you can live there temporarily. The house doesn’t have to be yours to use a TRA grant.
VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)
To assist homeless Veterans and their families, HUD and VA collaborate on this program that integrates HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services. Over 105,000 vouchers have already been awarded to Veterans by HUD as of December 20, 2020.
For veterans experiencing homelessness, HUD provides vouchers for rental assistance through public housing authorities. VA case managers offer support services to veterans during their recovery process and allow them to maintain housing in their communities.
Veterans who have experienced long-term or repeated homelessness mostly enroll in HUD-VASH programs. The HUD-VASH program provides support to veterans who meet the following criteria:
- They are eligible for health care benefits that are available through VA.
- They are chronically homeless, homeless, or at risk of homelessness.
- They meet income restrictions from their local Public Housing Authority (PHA).
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)
For low-income veterans, SSVF provides case management services and support services that help them avoid losing their homes soon, find a new, better housing situation for themselves and their families, or assist homeless veterans and their families in rehousing as soon as possible without assistance.
Community cooperatives and nonprofit agencies use SSVF funding to provide time-limited supportive services that promote housing stability for veterans and their families and prevent others from slipping into homelessness through referrals and direct outreach.
Among the services offered by case management are securing VA benefits and assistance with financial planning and educational aid.
For this program to be available to you, you must fulfill the following three requirements:
- Applicants must be veterans, spouses of veterans, or other members of veterans’ families.
- The applicant’s income must be very low (low income is defined as less than 50% of the area’s median income).
- The applicants must either be homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Several housing assistance programs are available for veterans in the US, including the VA Home Loan program, the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, and the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. These programs aim to help eligible veterans access affordable housing, prevent homelessness, and provide supportive services to promote stability and self-sufficiency.
To access veteran housing assistance programs, eligible veterans should first determine which programs they qualify for based on factors such as income, military service, and housing needs. They can then contact their local Veterans Affairs (VA) office, Public Housing Agency (PHA), or designated service providers to obtain application information, guidelines, and assistance.
Yes, veterans with disabilities may be eligible for assistance with home modifications through programs like the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant, the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant, or the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grant. These programs can help cover the costs of modifying a home to accommodate a veteran’s specific needs, such as installing ramps, widening doorways, or adapting bathrooms for wheelchair access. Eligibility criteria and grant amounts may vary depending on the program and the veteran’s individual circumstances.
Yes, veterans can apply for home improvement grants or loans through programs like the VA’s Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) or Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grants.
Yes, programs like the HUD-VASH provide rental assistance, and the SSVF program provides rapid re-housing and prevention services to veterans facing homelessness.
A grateful nation owes honor, respect, and thanks to all members of the United States armed forces. Veterans often struggle to find housing options, which is why there are many government-backed veteran housing assistance programs to reduce homelessness and the risk of homelessness among veterans. If you are a veteran but have a bad credit, you can avail housing assistance for veterans with bad credit.
For more information on government and private assistance programs that can help you improve your financial situation, check out the rest of the Gov-Relations. If you have dental issues, read our article on everything you need to know about dental grants for veterans.