Quarter 3 2021, Volume 9 Issue 3
Housing Counseling for Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families
Since 1972, Housing Counseling Services, Inc. has participated in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area with the goal of preventing homelessness and increasing sustainable housing opportunities by educating and empowering families and communities. Housing Counseling Services has a focused program that provides services to service members, veterans, and their families who have a large presence in communities throughout this region.
Housing Counseling Services identifies service members and veterans who are in need by:
- Maintaining relationships with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and other community partners
- Working regular rounds at local homeless shelters
- Engaging in ground outreach through marketing with local community centers
- Conducting weekly group education sessions to foster sustainable housing opportunities
At every stage of the housing continuum, Housing Counseling Services’ team of housing counselors use their expertise to refer their clients to programs that may assist them. The following examples illustrate how Housing Counseling Services leverages counselor knowledge to refer clients to available resources and provide skill-building opportunities for servicemembers and veterans:
- Offering specialized knowledge of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA): Staff members know how the SCRA assists service members who are at imminent or potential risk of foreclosure or eviction.
- Referring clients to the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program: This program, supported by the VA, provides services to very low-income homeless veterans and has gained recognition for its success in homeless prevention and rehousing veterans. The SSVF program uses the Housing First model, which works with homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness to quickly stabilize housing so that they can become independent.
- Assisting homeless veterans during the COVID-19 Pandemic: As the COVID-19 pandemic began, Housing Counseling Services worked alongside the VA to assist homeless veterans living in congregate settings or on the streets by housing them safely in hotels. This approach helped move veterans to safe locations and was a step in moving veterans into permanent housing.
Through these activities, Housing Counseling Services remains a trusted pillar of support for the service members and veterans in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.