A key federal program that helps homeless veterans move into permanent supportive housing will, for the first time, be available to Native American communities.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, better known as HUD-VASH, will be opened to tribes so they can directly serve Native American vets living on or near tribal lands.

To expand HUD-VASH, $4 million will be invested specifically to support Native American veterans. Approximately 650 veterans will be assisted through the new effort.

To expedite the program expansion, HUD has requested tribal responses through its Office of Native American Programs within 30 days rather than the traditional 60-day comment period. Comments should be submitted by Feb. 25 to tribalhudvashcomments@hud.gov.

In addition, six of HUD’s regional field offices will host public listening sessions with Native American communities in their areas.

Since 2008, HUD and VA have awarded more than 59,000 HUD-VASH vouchers and served more than 74,000 veterans experiencing homelessness. The program combines rental assistance from HUD and case management and clinical services from the VA.

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