Big money coming to San Antonio for homeless veterans


SAN ANTONIO - Some much-needed money is coming to San Antonio to help homeless veterans.

The money is coming from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

More than four-thousand homeless veterans will be getting a permanent home thanks to 35 million dollars worth of rental assistance vouchers nationwide. That includes 38 veterans in Bexar County.

"Literally people have bled for us to make sure that we have a life that's better," says David Nisivoccia, president and CEO of San Antonio Housing Authority. "So anytime that we can attain these vouchers and this funding, we apply for it and we've been rather successful."

Nisivoccia says Bexar County has the sixth largest population of homeless veterans in the country.

Many are considered chronically homeless.

"What we're seeing is veterans who have been on the street four, five, six times," says Tom Shaw, director of client services for housing programs with the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program.

The American GI Forum provides services to an average of fifty homeless veterans every month.

"A veteran comes through our door, they're going to get help in our programs," says Shaw. "Education, housing."

"That stable house means a lot to everything else that you have going on in your life," Nisivoccia adds.

And that's where the San Antonio Housing Authority can help, through rental assistance vouchers.

"They get the voucher and they have to go through the process of locating that housing," Nisivoccia says. "And then we sign off on that housing and then they're housed."

Housing vouchers from HUD combined with case management and clinical services from the VA.

"It's not as simple as finding a place and putting that veteran into that place," Shaw says. "You really have to tailor the approach to the individual."

This go-around, federal grant money will cover a permanent home, along with wraparound services, for 38 homeless veterans in San Antonio and Bexar County.

"So as long as we can provide that stability," Nisivoccia says, "And as long as the veterans can get the service they need, their lives improve greatly quickly."

HUD expects this grant money to provide homes to 177 homeless veterans across the state of Texas.

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