Hudson River Housing Veterans Program At-Risk of Closure by October First
Newburgh, NY – (RealEstateRama) — Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) and local officials condemned a decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs to deny an anticipated annual federal investment of over $500,000 to Hudson River Housing. If no action is taken, funding will run out and the program will be terminated after September 30th.
“Hudson River Housing has been an absolute lifeline for hundreds of men and women who wore our country’s uniform and needed some help when they got home. This heartless decision would leave them out in the cold,” said Rep. Maloney. “This breaks our sacred promise to our veterans and turns our back on them when they need us most.”
“Veterans should have every expectation we will continue to support them and will not give up on them,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro. “These brave men and women put their lives at risk to ensure our safety and the security of our nation. Though Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and our partnership with Hudson River Housing has led to a dramatic decrease in homelessness among veterans, the issue remains. We do not want to see even one veteran struggling to find safe shelter and secure housing. With little notice the Department of Veterans Affairs’ decision to deny another year of SSVF support in our community is shortsighted and illogical. We are grateful to Congressmen John Faso and Sean Maloney and Senator Chuck Schumer for speaking up for Dutchess County’s and America’s veterans. We cannot allow any veteran to be left out in the cold, to struggle on their own. Dutchess County stands with our veterans and will keep fighting for every one of them.”
“Since 2012, Hudson River Housing has been able to assist over 500 families who would have otherwise been homeless without this funding,” said New York State Senator Sue Serino. “This harmful decision to eliminate this grant, which has effectively reached so many veterans in need, illustrates either a lack of understanding of the critical need it fills or a callous disregard for our veterans. I implore the Division of Veterans Affairs to reconsider and provide this critical funding to ensure that our homeless veterans and their families are not abandoned by the nation they have courageously served.”
“On behalf of the homeless Veteran families that Hudson River Housing proudly serves, we are devastated by the news of the defunding of our Support Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant,” said Hudson River Housing Executive Director Christa Hines. “The possible closure of the SSVF program will cause an immediate and serious impact on the at-risk and homeless Veteran community that we serve and potentially reverse all of the progress that Hudson River Housing and our partners have made to address Veteran homelessness in Dutchess County. The manner in which we received notification that funding we have relied upon since 2012 would be completely eliminated in 2 weeks just furthers our disappointment and magnifies the impact this will have on the Veterans we serve. We appreciate the willingness of our Congressional representatives, John Faso and Sean Patrick Maloney, our Senator Charles Schumer and State Senator Sue Serino as well as Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro who joined with us in questioning why this funding was cut and their advocacy on our behalf with the Administration.”
Hudson River Housing will apply for an emergency one month extension to allow the organization to finish its existing cases. Local leaders are working together to appeal the decision or secure an extension. Rep. Maloney sent a letter directly to the President, asking him to intervene on behalf of local veterans. Dutchess County Executive Molinaro wrote an additional letter to the VA.
Hudson River Housing in the City of Poughkeepsie has received an investment of $511,000 every year for the past five years from the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. The investment has allowed the organization to employ five full-time staff who provide wraparound services to homeless veterans. Two staff members are veterans themselves. Since starting the program in 2012, HRH has helped over 450 homeless or at-risk veteran families and are currently providing services to thirty veterans. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness recently confirmed that Dutchess County had effectively ended homelessness among veterans. However, this status is reliant on local organizations which have the capacity to assist individual veterans who are at-risk or have recently become homeless.
Since taking office in 2013, Rep. Maloney has worked to secure nearly $2 million to assist homeless veterans in the Hudson Valley. In July, he introduced the Housing Our Heroes Act, which would create a three-year $25 million pilot program within the VA to provide grants to VSOs and other non-governmental organizations to acquire and update blighted properties for the purpose of housing homeless veterans.