During the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso’s (HACEP) participation at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) ‘The Stand Down” several local homeless veterans began their path to affordable housing.
As a result of the HACEP’s participation in the VA’s annual event, 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.
Blacksher added, “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.”