Eradicating Veteran Homelessness in El Paso

Eradicating Veteran Homelessness in El Paso
14 Veterans now have a place to call “Home”

EL PASO, Texas – As a result of the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso’s (HACEP) participation in the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) annual event, The Stand Down, 14 homeless Veterans were processed to receive a HUD-VASH voucher that will assist in providing them affordable housing, even after announcements from the federal government that all additional funding for this program would cease after 2015.

The Stand Down event is held annually in which community partners all come together to offer Veterans information and services in areas such as job placement and training, education, healthcare, housing assistance, etc. HACEP, a long time participant of the event, uses this as an opportunity to inform Veterans of the HUD-VASH Voucher program that will assist homeless Veterans find clean, safe and affordable housing.

“HACEP is honored to assist each of these Veterans and their families with the HUD-VASH Voucher as part of their first step to achieving self-sufficiency,” shares HACEP’s Board Chair Burt Blacksher. “Just like Brothers in Arms who assist each other on the field of battle with the motto that no one will be left behind, HACEP strongly believes in being part of that process in cooperation with the VA.”

The strength of the partnership between the VA and HACEP grew exponentially in 2008 when President Barack Obama first launched his initiative to eradicate Veteran homelessness through the HUD-VASH Voucher Program, which would run through 2015. After an official announcement that additional vouchers funded through the HUD-VASH program would cease after 2015, the need across the nation kept the program paving way for El Paso to receive 13 additional vouchers this year, for a total of 239 vouchers since its inception.

“The ability to serve our community truly lies in the strength of our partnerships,” expresses El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser after learning of the 14 Veterans assigned HUD-VASH vouchers. “Programs like HUD-VASH can exist nationwide but it is the partnership between our City, HACEP and the VA who ensure these resources are brought locally to those in need.”

For some HACEP team members, the Processing Event hit a little closer to home as HCV (Housing Choice Voucher) Special Programs Technician Ray Ortega, a Veteran himself, processed some of the 14 HUD-VASH vouchers assigned today.

“Serving as a HACEP team member gives me a sense of pride to continue to serve my community after I proudly served my country,” shares Ortega. “But today was extra special because today it is like handing my fellow servicemen the keys to a brighter future.”

About HUD-VASH Voucher Program
The HUD-VASH (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing) Voucher Program is an effort of President Barack Obama initiated in 2008 to fully eradicate veteran homelessness.

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The Housing Authority of the City El Paso, TX (HACEP), the 14th largest housing authority in the United States and manages the 2nd largest public housing portfolio in Texas. Home to the first NetZero, fossil fuel free, LEED Platinum affordable housing community in the U.S., HACEP provides high-quality housing assistance to over 40,000 low-income El Pasoans through its Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, Tax Credit, Non-Subsidized and Section 8 New Construction programs.

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