The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $927,747 for housing 75 homeless Orange County veterans, the county's Community Services Department announced Monday.
Including the just-announced grant, the county has received a total of $3.3 million since 2009, enough to house 279 single veterans and those with families.
But according to the most recent estimate, there are at least 856 military veterans in the county with nowhere to live.
Community Services Director Karen Roper said she was "very proud" of the county's Housing Authority because it was invited by HUD to apply for the grant and not all local government agencies receive that offer.
It means, she said, the Housing Authority had qualified landlords already lined up who are willing to rent to veterans and their families. "They have to find a landlord who will say, ‘yes, I'll take you,'" she said. And the properties must be inspected to make sure they're safe and fit to live in.
The housing vouchers come with five years of Veterans Administration support services, she said.
Roper said the county Housing Authority is one of 178 nationwide to receive Veterans Administration Supportive Housing (VASH) funds this year.
Qualified veterans can use the vouchers to rent an apartment, condominium or house. The veteran pays about 30 percent of his or her monthly income toward the rent, and the county Housing Authority will use the HUD grant to pay the rest. Each year the veteran's income is evaluated to make sure he or she still qualifies for the program.
Including veterans, Orange County has about 7,000 homeless on any given day, according to a one-day "point-in-time" count conducted in January. The county is beginning a program intended to end homelessness by 2020.
Homeless veterans are urged to contact 562-826-8000, ext. 2336, for information on housing.
Property owners who would like to participate in the program should call the Orange County Housing Authority owner hotline at 714-480-2866.
— TRACY WOOD