There are multiple veterans living in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) residential housing program in Pinellas County Florida. Having recovered to some extent, the goal is for the veterans to move out of the housing program and into apartments in St. Petersburg. This is not possible, unfortunately, because the subsidized housing vouchers they need to live in those apartments are not available to them.
Veterans use the housing vouchers to pay rent via the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The housing vouchers are not only being issued in surrounding counties, but around the country as well. Veterans in Pinellas County, however, won’t be able to apply for the 125 available vouchers until at least January.
The problem arose because of VA hiring errors. The Bay Pines VA failed to hire case managers in a timely manner who would be able to supervise, and provide aid to, veterans in the residential housing program. The Bay Pines VA, which is located in St. Petersburg, covers Pinellas County as well as 115 areas outside Pinellas. Since October 1, 2010, there have been 125 vouchers earmarked for these areas that have been made unavailable to veterans.
The Bay Pines VA blames the delay in making the vouchers available on the difficulty of hiring qualified people for the case manager positions. Many veterans are on the precipice of beginning their new, independent lives, but their final step is being blocked. For many who have struggled with homelessness and/or substance abuse, being able to live independently is like being given a new beginning in life.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.