JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Jackson Housing Authority are working to help some of the homeless population in the city by providing housing vouchers to those who qualify.
The Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program (HUD-VASH) started about 13 years ago. The partnership between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Jackson Housing Authority focuses on veterans who are homeless or facing homelessness.
HUD-VASH leaders said they’re looking to house about 100 homeless veterans.
“We started with 35 vouchers, and as of today, we have 382 vouchers with this particular housing authority. Out of that 382, we have 270+ veterans housed. We have roughly 100, a little over 100 vouchers for our homeless veterans,” explained Derrick Moore, HUD-VASH supervisor.
Moore said the program usually doesn’t see a surplus in vouchers, but the coronavirus pandemic has made it hard to reach the homeless community.
“During the pandemic, it decreased. We had to rethink how to get the vouchers to the veteran, how to help them look for housing. From that standpoint, it changed the process some,” said Moore.
“We’re looking for all the help we can to get the word out there that these services are available. You know, we tried different methods, and again we’re just looking for all the help we can,” said Quiton Garrette with the Jackson Housing Authority.
Specific criteria is required before veterans can receive a voucher. Once in the program, they will receive a tool to help them become a sustainable homeowner.
“The services extend to the entire family, not just that one person. We’re going to house, we are going to house the whole family. Once they’re on the program after a year, if they’re interested in purchasing a house, we will assist them in the purchasing process,” explained Garrette.
Leaders said through the program, they will also work with clients on resume building, job searches and helping veterans go back to school.