Tester Announces New Housing Vouchers for Missoula Housing Authority to Support Homeless Veterans
Senator cut red tape on veteran housing facilities and helped secure new permanent housing vouchers through the HUD-VASH program to help homeless veterans and their families find and keep permanent housing
Following his continued efforts to fight veterans homelessness in Montana, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $158,911 in funding for the Missoula Housing Authority to help homeless veterans and their families find and retain permanent housing. This will amount to nearly 20 new permanent housing vouchers for the Missoula Housing Authority to house homeless veterans and their families. This expansion was made possible by Tester’s Building Solutions for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2021, which cut red tape to allow the Missoula Housing Authority to convert its existing veterans temporary housing facility to permanent housing.
“Ensuring Montanans’ access to housing is one of the most pressing issues facing our state, and it is particularly important when it comes to our veterans and their families who are facing homelessness,” said Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “That’s why I fought to cut bureaucratic red tape and secure these resources to make sure veterans and their families can find and keep permanent, safe housing in the Missoula area, and I’ll keep working to improve all Montanans’ access to affordable housing.”
The funding for these new vouchers comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as part of their HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. The HUD-VASH program awarded $16.1 million nationwide to provide housing and supportive services to veterans by pairing rental assistance from HUD with case management and supportive services provided by VA.
A staunch supporter of ensuring funding for HUD-VASH case manager funding, Tester helped secure funding increases for VA case management for HUD-VASH in the federal funding bill last year in his capacity as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Tester also sent letters supporting HUD-VASH case manager funding for fiscal years 2022, 2023, and for 2024.
Tester also secured his comprehensive Building Solutions for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2021 into the federal funding bill last year to permanently cut red tape on capital grants provided by VA for organizations assisting veterans experiencing homelessness, which allowed the Missoula Housing Authority to convert its existing veterans temporary housing facility to meet the increasing need for affordable, permanent housing in Missoula. As part of this comprehensive law, Tester included a provision to ensure that when VA needs to contract for HUD-VASH case management outside the Department due to staffing demands, it only contracts with knowledgeable organizations with experience working with veterans or in the geographical areas similar to where the services will be provided.
Continuing his fight to end veterans homelessness, Tester introduced the bipartisan Critical Health Access Resource and Grant Extensions (CHARGE) Act of 2023 to protect measures currently being implemented by VA to curb veterans homelessness. This includes a flexibility that allows VA to provide direct support to homeless veterans, especially those in the HUD-VASH program, to ensure they can continue receiving wrap-around support and resources to help them retain permanent housing. He also introduced the Tribal HUD-VASH Act to help tackle Native veterans homeless by codifying this tribal housing initiative between VA and HUD. Tribal HUD-VASH was incorporated into the Native American Housing and Self Determination Reauthorization Act, which was included in the Senate-passed version of theNational Defense Authorization Act of 2024. The final version of which remains under negotiation.
“Missoula Housing Authority is thankful for this award of HUD-VASH vouchers that allows us to seamlessly complete our conversion of our long-standing Valor House project from transitional housing to permanent housing for homeless veterans,” said Jim McGrath, Director of HUD Programs, Missoula Housing Authority. “We have seen for some time that the most effective solution to veteran homelessness is permanent housing, and it is what MHA does best. We are all very excited to dedicate Valor House as a permanent resource for homeless veterans, and to continue and strengthen our partnership with the VA. We thank Senator Tester for his tireless work on behalf of veterans.”