The Vermont Veteran Services SSVF program works to help Vermont veteran households who are literally homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness gain or retain stable housing by providing supportive services. The program is managed at the University of Vermont and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Our friends at Capstone Community Action (formerly CVCAC) passed on the following helpful info about the program at yesterday’s Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition meeting:
Eligible families must have a head of household or spouse who is a U.S. active duty military veteran with any discharge type other than dishonorable, and very-low family income (less than 50% of the Area Median Income, or AMI). The SSVF program targets the poorest families (less than 30% AMI) and veterans of the recent Iraq and Afghanistan deployments as priority cases. Typically, a family must be literally homeless or be facing eviction within 14 days to qualify.
Veteran families are enrolled in the VVS SSVF program only after careful screening for eligibility. After enrollment, SSVF provides supportive services to participants to help them obtain or retain stable housing. Intensive Case Management is the primary service provided throughout participation in the program. SSVF case managers assist the household to find or retain housing by working closely with them on housing placement, financial counseling, budgeting, employment, VA or state benefits, and linkage to services. In certain cases, case management may be augmented by temporary financial assistance with rent, rental deposits, utility deposits, and other eligible expenses related to secure housing. It should be noted that financial assistance, if available, is limited in amount and duration, and is not guaranteed for any program participant.
Landlords who rent to a household or individual enrolled in SSVF should observe their standard lease process. Any lease you enter into will be with the veteran household, not with the SSVF program. Participants are solely responsible for adhering to all requirements in the lease, including rental payments. Landlords will be notified by an SSVF program representative in advance if the program will be paying any rental charges for a month. If financial assistance is approved, the landlord will receive a check directly from the University of Vermont on behalf of the VVS SSVF program. It is important to note that any financial assistance is a) limited in duration and amount; b) will never be for more than one month at a time; c) must be approved in advance.
The VVS SSVF program makes every reasonable effort to support its participants in becoming successfully, stably housed. However, potential landlords of SSVF clients must be aware that the ultimate responsibility for compliance with the lease lies solely with the tenant.