One of the biggest challenges plaguing America is finding and securing affordable housing for former military service members. In 2020 alone, an estimated 37,000 veterans were homeless with the highest concentration of homelessness centered in California. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are approximately 11,000 homeless veterans in California.
Despite the numbers, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Research shows an 11 percent decline in veteran homelessness, the largest drop in more than five years, and rental assistance programs like the Shallow Subsidy service are now live.
Providing veterans with the resources and support they need to transition back to civilian life is just the first of many steps on their journey toward securing safe and affordable housing. From government-backed mortgage loans to rental assistance, there are several options veterans can consider when searching for their next home:
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH): Combining HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services, the HUD-VASH program works to provide homeless veterans with rental assistance vouchers. In addition to helping veterans find affordable housing, the HUD-VASH program also provides service members access to health care, mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, and other support services.
- Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF): For low-income veterans, SSVF offers case management and supportive services to ensure veterans have suitable housing through two methods: homeless prevention and rapid rehousing. And unlike HUD, the Shallow Subsidy program is designed to support households for up to 24 months and provides a maximum rental subsidy of up to 50% of the lease rent.
- VA Loans: A government-backed mortgage option, VA loans are available to veterans and their family members when veterans are ready to make the transition to home ownership. These loans are offered by private lenders rather than the Department of Veterans Affairs and offer more flexible, forgiving credit underwriting requirements. VA loans also offer 0% down payment, lower interest rates, and remove the burden of paying certain closing costs and fees from veteran buyers.
Supporting veterans requires sustainable solutions
It’s not enough to just place veterans in a temporary or permanent home. There also needs to be a long-term plan to ensure veterans can stay in their homes for the foreseeable future and even carve out a path to homeownership.
If you’re a landlord with veteran tenants, there are a number of tools you can use to simplify the rental process for former service members. One way to support your renter is to offer an online digital payment platform that makes it easy for them to consistently pay their rent on time. With RentSpree’s Rent Payment software, tenants can schedule recurring payments and have multiple options to pay, including ACH transfer, debit, or credit card.
Another way landlords can offer their support is by reporting tenants’ on-time payments to one of the major credit bureaus. Data reveals that especially military service members suffer from faulty credit reporting, which negatively impacts their financial readiness and can even affect their ability to secure housing. Tools like Credit Builder make it simple for tenants to report timely payments every month so they can build up their credit score and position themselves as strong candidates for better and more secure housing options.
Every veteran deserves safe, affordable housing
As military service members transition back to regular civilian life, several obstacles can hinder their ability to secure housing and ultimately lead to homelessness. To address this challenge, a number of resources have become available to not only help veterans find and secure their next home but to also ensure they can afford to build a life in those homes.
When it comes to housing former service members, sustainable solutions in the form of financial assistance, preventative services, and intuitive technology tools will be key to helping veterans find the stability they need after life in the military. Providing safe, reliable shelter is just the first step; we also need to think about what long-term solutions we can offer to support our service members on their journey to finding a place they can call home.
Are you a landlord with veteran tenants? Consider offering a Rent Payment software to help your former service members consistently pay rent on time and even build up their credit scores today.