We're Out To End Veteran Homelessness

Our Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (SSVF)program employs Housing First and equity-driven approach to providing Rapid Rehousing and Homelessness Prevention services to Veterans at-risk of or experiencing homelessness.

BMAC’s SSVF program provides services to veteran households throughout parts of Washington and Oregon in the following counties: Walla Walla, Columbia, Wallowa, Union, Umatilla, Morrow.

The SSVF program is a VA funded, short-term Rapid Rehousing and Homeless Prevention program administered through Blue Mountain Action Council and free to clients who qualify.

Who is Eligible

As a former service member, you are eligible with the following conditions:

  •  Veteran: Either (a) a Veteran; or (b) a member of a family in which the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household, is a Veteran.
  • The term “Veteran” – for purposes of SSVF –means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, regardless of length of service, and who was discharged or released therefrom. Veteran excludes a person who received a dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces or was discharged or dismissed from the Armed Forces by reason of the sentence of a general court-martial.

Note: Veterans who served in the National Guard must have been activated by presidential order to meet active duty requirements.

  • Very low-income: The Veteran household may not exceed a gross annual income of 50% of AMI for the county they are being served in.
  • Homeless or at-risk of homelessness: The Veteran household is literally homeless or will become homeless in less than 30 days.

Support Services

  • Outreach & Case Management
  • Connection to VA benefits and programs
  • Temporary Financial Assistance (includes things like Rental Assistance, application fees, background check fees, security deposits for housing and utilities, utility assistance, clothing for employment, moving costs, childcare, transportation and more.
  • Legal Assistance
  • Healthcare Navigation

Partner Information

The SSVF program is one part of a community’s homeless system and it relies on partners who can refer from emergency/shelter programs and other urgent responders, as it is not staffed 24/7 and is focused on long-term stability after urgent needs for food and shelter are met.

The SSVF program is a Rapid Re-Housing/Homeless Prevention program that works with program participants to explore their strengths and resiliency in order to obtain a housing solution.

Due to the complexities of each household, a housing solution will look different for each individual served. All SSVF program participants are required to actively participate in case management services.

The SSVF program is not able to enroll veteran households solely based on a financial assistance request and potential program participants must meet program eligibility requirements.

If a potential program participant is not eligible for services, they are referred to a community agency that can meet their immediate needs.

Housing First

SSVF is a Rapid Re-housing/Homeless Prevention program that focuses on the five key Housing First principles.

1.    Immediate access to permanent housing with no housing readiness requirements.

2.    Consumer choice and self-determination.

3.    Recovery orientation.

4.   Individualized and client-driven supports.

5.   Social and community integration.

Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA)

The SSVF program is a case management driven program that has the ability to provide temporary financial assistance (TFA) for enrolled program participants if the household would become homeless or remain homeless but for the assistance. Due to each household having different needs, not all households will receive or be eligible for the TFA categories listed below.

·  Rental Assistance
·  Application Fees
·  Background Checks
·  Security Deposits – Utility & Housing
·  Utility Assistance
·  Employment Clothing
·  Moving Costs
·  Child Care
·  Transportation – Auto Repairs, Bus Passes
·  Move-in Kits/Beds

Shallow Rental Subsidy

In response to the affordable housing crisis, the SSVF Program Office implemented a promising practice in the form of a new type of rental subsidy arrangement, known as the Shallow Subsidy service. A shallow subsidy offers more modest rental support over a longer time period than traditional Rapid Rehousing (RRH)and Homelessness Prevention (HP).  

Shallow Subsidy is a service that provides rental assistance to Veteran households within comes under 50% AMI. The Shallow Subsidy can be a part of a progressive engagement approach, where Veterans receive some level of traditional RRH or HP rental assistance prior to beginning this service because they are rent-burdened and require the longer-term assistance to maintain permanent housing.

Under the SSVF Shallow Subsidy service, BMAC’s SSVF program can make a 24 month commitment to the landlord and the household – unless the household terminates their housing or receives a permanent rental subsidy.   BMAC’s SSVF program will also provide light case management services, which may be increased if a crisis or unanticipated need arises, to assist Veteran households in maintaining their housing stability.

Legal Services

In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, the SSVF program nationally expanded legal services provided to program participants. BMAC’s SSVF program participants are now screened and provided legal services for non-felonies through BMAC’s Pro Bono program.

BMAC’s SSVF program may be able to provide assistance to program participants in the following areas:

·  Eviction (threatening or pending)
·  Child support issues
·  Assistance in obtaining SSI and SSDI benefits and/or assistance with claims for those    benefits
·  Landlord/Tenant issues (includes protecting tenant rights, addressing housing code    violations, protecting security deposits, and providing lease reviews)
· Outstanding warrants and/or court fees
·  Assistance in obtaining VA benefits and/or assistance with claims for those benefits
· Driver’s license reinstatement issues
· Criminal records expungement
·  Debt collection (includes pursuing debt forgiveness and processing personal    bankruptcies)
· Discharge upgrade (if Veteran already enrolled on SSVF and current the upgrade is    directly connected to the Housing Stability Plan.)

Healthcare Navigation

In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, the SSVF Program Office implemented a promising practice in the form of a new type of service within the SSVF program(Healthcare navigation).

 SSVF Healthcare Navigators work with SSVF program participants on a variety of issues to assist them in identifying and overcoming challenges to accessing the healthcare system or adhering to recommended health care plans.

SSVF Healthcare Navigation services include the following assistance:

·     Accessing healthcare systems.

·     Scheduling appointments when needed.

·     Utilizing available services including preventative healthcare.

·     Identifying and solving barriers to care (i.e. transportation, childcare).

·     Providing education  and creating links to wellness-related resources.

·     Assisting with SOAR applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can SSVF pay for hotel/motels?

Veteran households must be eligible and enrolled in the SSVF program in order to receive any form of financial assistance.

In order for the SSVF program to be able to provide financial assistance for hotel/motels during COVID 19 the following conditions must be met:

·   The Veteran is not able to access an emergency shelter bed.

·     The Veteran is not able to access a GPD bed.

·     The Veteran does not have any friends, family, or financial resources to avoid homelessness.

·     The Veteran is not able to receive any financial resources from community agencies to avoid homelessness.

·     The Veteran will be literally homeless without Emergency Housing Assistance from the SSVF program.

 Note: A condition of extending a hotel stay – the household must be actively looking for and applying to rental units to have the hotel extended each week.

2. Can SSVF pay for hotels if the Veteran is not able to care for themselves?

The SSVF program cannot provide hotel assistance for Veteran households who require a higher level of care and are not able to live independently.

3. Is SSVF able to pay for damages to the motel/hotel?

The cost of deposits or damages to property is not an allowable expense with SSVF funds.

4. Can SSVF utilize Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) for any veteran?

The SSVF program can only provide financial assistance to veterans if they are eligible, enrolled, and would be homeless but for the financial assistance provided by the SSVF program.

5. How can a veteran access BMAC’s SSVF program?

BMAC’s SSVF program has been integrated into the Walla Walla County Coordinated Entry System. For literally homeless individuals seeking assistance, they should be directed to Coordinated Entry. Coordinated Entry will screen the individual and refer them to the most appropriate program.

Literally homeless individuals can access Coordinated Entry in Walla Walla County by contacting BMAC via phone or in-person Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 5 PM. The primary contact for Coordinated Entry is:

Michele Dobbins, Homeless Services Coordinator, BMAC
8 E Cherry Street, Walla Walla, WA  99362
509-529-4980 Ext. 340 or micheled@bmacww.org

If a Veteran is residing outside of Walla Walla County, they can contact the SSVF program directly by calling (509) 529-4980 ex. 614 for a screening and if eligible a program enrollment via phone.

BMAC’s SSVF program completes screenings and intakes within one business day of contact/referral. Veterans who do not meet SSVF eligibility requirements are referred to the most appropriate provider.

6. How do individuals access SSVF for Homeless Prevention assistance?

BMAC’s SSVF program has centralized its eligibility screening and intake process. Veterans are able to complete both the screening and intake over the phone by calling (509) 529-4980 ex. 614.

BMAC’s SSVF program is utilizing electronic signatures to speed up the intake process. Veterans can also complete the BMAC assistance request online at: https://www.bmacww.org/programs/all-services

BMAC’s SSVF program completes screenings and intakes within one business day of contact/referral. Veterans who do not meet SSVF eligibility requirements are referred to the most appropriate provider.

7. When can a veteran contact the SSVF program?

BMAC’s SSVF program is open Monday – Friday 8 PM – 5 PM. The SSVF program completes screenings and intakes within one business day of referral from Coordinated Entry and for individuals seeking homeless prevention services.

8. What do I do if a veteran needs assistance and the SSVF program is closed?

The SSVF program is a rapid re-housing and homeless prevention program. If a veteran needs emergency shelter, they should be referred to an emergency shelter provider.

9.     Does the SSVF program work with Veterans who have a HUD-VASH voucher?

Yes, the HUD-VASH team must complete a referral to SSVF for financial assistance requests only, under the following conditions;

·   The HUD-VASH participant must be literally homeless

·   The HUD-VASH participant must not have signed a lease yet

When a HUD-VASH program participant contacts BMAC’s SSVF program directly, they are referred back to their HUD-VASH Case Manager for assistance and services.

10.  How are HUD-VASH Referrals processed for SSVF?

When a Veteran is conducting his/her housing search, the HUD-VASH team should be preparing to submit the full packet to BMAC’s SSVF program. The packet must be submitted prior to the Veteran household moving into housing and the lease being signed.

11.  Can the SSVF program assist HUD-VASH program participants with rental arrears?

Yes, The SSVF program may be able to assist individuals with HUD-VASH vouchers for rental arrears if enrolled in BMAC’s SSVF program, a condition for enrollment is the development of a written plan must be developed by the HUD-VASH caseworker, working in coordination with BMAC’s SSVF program that will lead to a path of sustainability for the Veteran in their current housing. This plan must include clear targets for rent repayment/relief and include a revised rent amount if required to sustain current housing. It may also include requirements for money management classes, treatment for substance abuse disorders, credit counseling, resolution of outstanding legal issues, and other appropriate interventions.

If a HUD-VASH referral is for a current resident in rental or utility arrears, it is strongly recommended that the Veteran must have a third-party financial representative who can ensure that over the intermediate-term, rent will be paid. The third-party financial representative arrangement should continue until the Veteran meets agreed-upon targets demonstrating their ability to resume control over their finances.

12.  Has BMAC’s SSVF program informed the VA on how to access services through BMAC’s SSVF program?

Yes, BMAC’s SSVF program has provided procedures in writing and provided training with the VAMC on how to access homeless prevention and literally homeless assistance through BMAC’s SSVF program.  

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