Creative use of VA program could get homeless vets housed faster

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's known as Supportive Services for Veterans Families.  The Executive Director of the Office of Housing says it could be the key to getting all Honolulu's homeless vets housed and fast.
"They're doing it in New Orleans, San Francisco. They're doing it in Houston.  What that tells me is that's the right direction to go,"
said Jun Yang.
Yang is one of hundreds of community leaders from all over the country who are in Washington DC this week in an effort to get people off
the street.  It's a part of the annual National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference.
Yang says right now it can take up to 90 days for a veteran living on the streets of Honolulu to get approved for rental assistance through
traditional voucher programs.  But a vet who qualifies for SSVF can use that money to pay rent until their voucher kicks in.
Since the landlord summit last Thursday the city's Heroes Housing Heroes program has begun to pick up steam.
"We've been getting calls from landlords telling us that they have units in Wahiawa, they have unites in Waianae, they have units in town. 
So it's connecting those units to the veterans we have," said Yang.
Yang also wants city inspectors for Section 8 housing to be available on an on call basis so that properties can be inspected right away. 
That combined with SSVF means the city could potentially be able to take a vet who is living on the street and have them placed in permanent housing all in the same day.
"It's a hard goal to reach but I'm going to shoot for that and see if I can do it," said Yang.
Yang says as the city builds up its list of landlords through the Heroes Housing Heroes program, down the road they hope to be able to
find rental units for homeless families and chronic homeless.

If you would like more information on SSVF you can call Catholic Charities Hawaii hotline number at (808) 521-HELP (4357).

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