San Francisco News

Help for homeless vets: 50 homes in 100 days

Sunday, January 20, 2013

President Barack Obama has made it a goal to end homelessness among the nation's military veterans by 2015. To that end, his administration is helping San Francisco take a step in that direction by funding a new campaign.

Rosaynna Fellini was living in a series of run down hotels, now she has her own apartment in San Francisco. It's part of a renewed push to take care of the country's vets. She was in the Navy during Vietnam. "It was a turning point in my life," she said. "I wanted to serve my county. I lost two brothers in Vietnam."

"I can't think of a more patriotic thing to do than to find a homeless veteran their home," said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who announced Thursday that San Francisco is one of 17 cities nationwide selected to take part in what's called the SF Homes for Heroes campaign. The goal here is within 100 days to house 50 homeless vets who have federal rent vouchers, but have been unable to find anything they can afford.

"This market is very, very high, so there is a process in place now where our Housing Authority director can look at the needs of an individual veteran and ascertain whether they might be eligible for a higher rent payment," said Bevan Dufty with San Francisco Housing Opportunity.

The city is also actively recruiting landlords to accept the vouchers from vets like Fellini, promising to expedite the paperwork. Judy Wu was praised at the news conference because she's renting to more than half a dozen veterans and willing to take more.

"Right now they really need the help," said Wu. "Not only housing, also mentally and comfort, all the stuff... they really need it."

When you see the homeless in your community, it's estimated that at least 20 percent are military vets.

"We all need this whether it's a veteran, and especially for females," said Fellini.

In addition to the 50 vets who already have the subsidies, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affiars (VA) have awarded the city nearly $3 million, enough to offer another 200 vouchers. Now the push is on to find the housing.

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Tags:
homeless, veterans, ed lee, san francisco news, carolyn tyler
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