Homeless vets pick up support from Brighton health center

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2015/11/11/homeless-vets-pick-up-support-from-brighton-health-center/

BOSTON – Mayor Marty Walsh and the Brighton Marine Health Center have teamed up to end homelessness among veterans in the city, under a partnership announced Wednesday in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Brighton Marine has set up a $200,000 endowment to assist the Mayor’s Homes for the Brave program, according to a statement from City Hall. Walsh began the initiative to help find permanent housing for veterans in June 2014 in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s challenge to mayors to end homelessness among vets by the end of this year.

While about 50 out of the nearly 300 homeless veterans in Boston hold Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) certificates, which help them pay rent, the benefits don’t include related costs such as security deposits, Michael Dwyer, Brighton Marine’s chief executive, pointed out in the statement.

“Many are unable to secure housing because they lack funds for costs that VASH does not cover,” he said. Those expenses can also include first month’s rent, broker and rental application fees and moving. “For many veterans, these relatively small, one-time costs can spell the difference between permanent housing and spending more time in a shelter or on the street,” Dwyer said.

The new endowment will provide as much as $2,000 to help cover these extra costs, Dwyer said. He said 18 vets have already received financial assistance from the fund.

Through the mayor’s program, the city has found permanent housing for 484 veterans and reduced the amount of time they spend in shelters or other temporary residences, even as more veterans wind up in need of help.

Last week, the city met with homeless vets at the Pine Street Inn shelter off Albany Street to help them find their way into permanent housing. Over the past weekend, the mayor’s program organized a volunteer effort to reach out to all those city residents who have served and serve in the American military, to thank them and make sure they are aware of services available to them.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter at @karabettis