New Law Will Make More Veterans Eligible for Housing

LA Homeless Services Authority
The Road Home
Published in
2 min readDec 1, 2023

--

New state legislation signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom makes more veterans experiencing homelessness eligible for supportive housing.

Assembly Bill 1386, authored by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-46) and sponsored by LAHSA, along with U.S. Vets and the California Association of Veteran Service Agencies (CAVSA, increases the flexibility of the State Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention (VHHP) Program by allowing for local homeless rehousing systems to match a veteran experiencing homelessness with an income at or below 60% area median income and who is receiving services to a VHHP bed in cases when a veteran with lower income cannot be located. The income threshold was previously 30% of the area median income or lower.

That means some veterans who did not qualify for the program now qualify, though lower-income veterans are still prioritized. AB 1386 removes this administrative barrier and seeks to maximize the impact of existing services and programs by decreasing vacancy rates, helping to reduce the population of veterans experiencing homelessness.

The VHHP program allocates funds to affordable housing developers who combine that funding with money from other sources to construct new multifamily housing developments targeted at veterans experiencing homelessness. At least 50% of the funds serve veteran households with extremely low incomes or those who earn 30% or less of the area median income.

The VHHP funding has produced more than 88 affordable housing developments with 5,665 units for veterans and nonveterans since 2014.

The problem that AB 1386 will address is that when veterans are connected to benefits, including disability benefits, their income exceeds the 30% threshold, making them ineligible for the VHHP housing units. As a result, some buildings had high vacancy rates despite homeless veterans remaining.

By nationwide comparison, veterans are overrepresented in California’s homeless population — the state is home to 31% of the national total — and that is especially true in Southern California. About 10% of all homeless veterans nationwide reside in Los Angeles County.

--

--