Jim Lindenmayer.


Local veteran organizations step up to help veterans obtain COVID-19 rental assistance

Canton, GA

If you are a veteran, there currently are rent assistance funds being made available through the Supportive Services for Veterans with Families (SSVF) housing programs. The SSVF program offers supportive and/or temporary financial assistance to eligible veterans who would but for SSVF assistance be homeless or remain homeless. Temporary financial assistance may include rental assistance, utility payments, security/utility deposits, moving costs, transportation and general emergency expenses.
Local VSOs, including American Legion Post 45 in Canton, American Legion Post 316 in Woodstock and Canton VFW Post 5262, are looking to help veterans in need of rental assistance to navigate this and other rental assistance programs, noted Jim Lindenmayer, service officer for Post 45. “The SSVF program has a well-defined process for applying and qualifying for this program. Veterans must meet the following criteria:
• Not exceed 2020 AMI income limits for “very low-income" (50% of median)
• Be homeless or at imminent risk of losing housing (veterans at imminent risk of losing housing must also meet the requirements of a secondary screening process designed to prioritize those most at risk)
• Be willing to participate in case management
• Not currently receiving assistance from another agency for the same services
• Have served in the United States regular military and do not have a dishonorable or bad conduct (with general court martial) discharge status from the military. Veterans that served in the reserves or National Guard must have been called up for active duty by an order of the president.

Our goal for the VSO’s is to connect with local veterans of Cherokee County and help facilitate the documentation-gathering and qualification process as soon as possible. “We are working with HOPE Atlanta’s intake team to see how we can streamline the SSVF process to identify what type and how much rental assistance can be obtained for veterans and for their landlords through this program,” Lindenmayer went on to add.
“We want all veterans in need of rental assistance to be able to take care of their families during the COVID crisis, and we want them to understand that we are here to help them regardless if the veteran belongs to any VSO. Veterans have sacrificed so much during their time in service and now it is our time to help pay it forward.” mentioned John Bruss, service officer for Post 5262.
"The program to date has allowed us to work with over a dozen veterans who are behind in their rent. Some have lost their jobs during COVID, others have encountered medical issues, and other veterans we have encountered are not financially able to pay their bills. With a nationwide eviction moratorium, we are looking to help as many veterans as possible with rental assistance as well as any VA claims they may have. The program support has limits and we sometimes have to engage other financial sources to help these veterans," noted Lindenmayer. "The first veteran we helped was a young Navy veteran who has a wife and two small children, who was over $8,500 behind in rent and utilities. Through our assistance we were able to reach out to HOPE Atlanta, as well as three other financial agencies including the Emergency Food and Shelter Grant that was awarded to the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran program that is part of Post 45. Many of the veterans we help were not members of The American Legion, but through this initiative we have been able to add many of these veterans to the Legion membership rolls. This is a great program to add to the Buddy Check system."

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