Tri-City veterans group launching rental assistance program

By the Tri-City HeraldApril 21, 2013 

A gap in available housing aid for homeless Tri-City veterans soon could be filled.

The Columbia Basin Veterans Coalition will be operating a rental assistance program for Benton-Franklin Human Services to help honorably discharged veterans.

It's something Skip Novakovich, president of the coalition, said the Tri-Cities has needed for some time. They especially will be able to better help female veterans and veterans with families.

That's something the coalition can't really do with its two homes for homeless veterans, Novakovich said. The homes in Kennewick and Richland are communal living for 13 people and are really meant for men.

Details of the new program are still being worked out. The coalition plans to give an eligible veteran and his or her family a voucher for first month's rent, which will be paid directly to a landlord.

The housing assistance could last for a few months, with the subsidy decreasing each month until the veteran is paying the full rent.

It's another way the coalition hopes to support veterans so they can become self-sufficient. Novakovich said the staff also help veterans find other benefits they are eligible for.

The nonprofit recently opened its Richland home near Washington State University Tri-Cities, particularly for student veterans. Novakovich said they already have some tenants, but have space available.

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