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Housing authority receives homeless funding
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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is providing $7 million to 24 local public housing agencies across the country to help homeless veterans find permanent housing.

As a result, of a nationwide competition for the vouchers earlier this year, the Pinellas County Housing Authority has been awarded $111,093 for first-year funding to provide project-based HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing assistance to 16 homeless veterans at HEP West in Clearwater.

The funding commitment will exceed $1 million to PCHA as these vouchers will be provided by HUD annually for a minimum of ten years to support the Project-Based Voucher contract with HEP.

The C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center will provide case management and clinical services provided by VA. PCHA currently administers 315 HUD-VASH vouchers for homeless veterans in Pinellas County.

“We are tremendously honored to have been selected by HUD to provide these project-based vouchers to homeless veterans in Pinellas County. Our partnerships with the C.W. Bill Young Veterans Medical Center and Homeless Emergency Project will assure that we continue to work toward providing affordable housing to homeless veterans in a caring, supportive environment as they receive the services and care that they need moving forward,” said PCHA Board Chairman Joseph Triolo.

The new PCHA-HEP partnership will provide the HUD-VASH vouchers to Homeless Emergency Project’s

HEP West Apartments, located at 1101 Holt Ave. in Clearwater. HEP-WEST was constructed and put into service in June 2012 and consist of 32 fully furnished one bedroom apartments. Each unit is approximately 500 square feet and features a full bath and a fully functional kitchen with Energy Star appliances.

The property includes design features that provide for resident safety, privacy and security including exterior lighting, security cameras/video surveillance, fencing, fire protection sprinklers and assigned parking. In addition to the case management and clinical services provided by the VA, HEP-West provides a full time case manager and an employment specialist to assist these veterans as they work toward self-sufficiency.

“We’re very thankful to be one of 24 housing authorities in the nation selected to participate in this program, and we’re excited about our ability to assure the continued sustainability of the HEP-WEST program, and most importantly, our ability to provide housing and supportive services to additional homeless veterans in Pinellas County,” said Debra Johnson, PCHA’s executive director.

PCHA provides housing opportunities for more than 8,000 county individuals. PCHA’s focus is on providing affordable housing through the development, ownership, and management of properties, and administration of rental assistance programs. PCHA owns and operates more than 1,000 units of non-subsidized affordable rentals in addition to federally subsidized rentals and rental subsidies. For more information about PCHA, visit www.p­inell­ashou­sing.­com.

HEP was founded in 1986 to meet the immediate needs of a growing number of homeless individuals and families in Pinellas. HEP operates more than 355 units of emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive housing. For more information about HEP, visit www.e­thep.­org.
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