HAGERSTOWN, Md. — The Hagerstown Housing Authority is one of 300 public housing authorities receiving special vouchers for homeless veterans, to help place them in a more permanent living situation.
The program comes from the White House and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) joint initiative to end veteran homelessness by December 2015.
According to the executive director of the Hagerstown Housing Authority (HHA), Joanne Ballengee, veterans can qualify only by a referral from the VA for the VA Supportive Housing Voucher.
Ballengee said it’s a subsidy program, “money is provided by the federal government, it’s like a Section 8 voucher and it helps them to pay their rent” as long as they need it.
“They only have to pay 30 percent of their income and their subsidy to take care of the rest,” Ballengee added.
Ballengee said there are three locations in Hagerstown to help homeless veterans in need, but they are only temporary. The voucher program is the first program in Hagerstown providing a permanent solution.
One housing complex taking in these vouchers is the Potomac Living Centers, located in the 1300-block of Potomac Street. The owner and developer, Mike Fitzgerald, said the veterans with vouchers are making the community a better place and it feels good to work together with the military.
“We approve everybody that moves in, so we make sure that we get very solid people, we are moving a lot of veterans in, it is equal opportunity,” Fitzgerald said.