WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

As D.C. Struggles To House Homeless, Veterans Program Is Bright Spot

Play associated audio
Christy Respress (Ex-Director of Pathways to Housing DC), Raymond Rose (veteran) and David Bridges (Housing First Team Program Director)
WAMU/Kavitha Cardoza
Christy Respress (Ex-Director of Pathways to Housing DC), Raymond Rose (veteran) and David Bridges (Housing First Team Program Director)

There are 58,000 homeless veterans in the U.S., but over the last year a local-national collaboration has been successful in placing 50 of D.C.'s hardest to reach and most vulnerable veterans in their own homes.

A year ago, Raymond Rose was sleeping outside the National Zoo in Northwest D.C.

"There are benches there, if it's raining, I can go to the bus stop and just not get wet. Actually the hardest part is someone you know coming up on you and wonder what's going on," he says.

Rose served in the Air Force during the 1960s and then worked as a cameraman for local television stations. But when he began having breathing problems and couldn't carry the heavy equipment, he lost his job and became homeless.

But a year ago, the nonprofit Pathways to Housing D.C., with help from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, helped him find his own apartment. For him, the best part is the kitchen.

"I do bad breakfasts. They're bacon and eggs and pancakes. There was that time I never knew if I would have it again," he says.

The Housing First model provides housing, and then links a person with services, rather than the other way round.

Federal vouchers pay up to $1,400 a month towards rent. The veteran contributes up to 30 percent of his or her income, from disability or Social Security checks. Christy Respress, who heads Pathways to Housing D.C., says it's actually cheaper to house a veteran using this model each year.

"For D.C., this Housing First model costs about $22,000 to $24,000 dollars with housing and the services. Which is much, much less expensive than having someone on the street when you think about the costs of hospitalization, jail, emergency room use, all those services connected with being homeless," she says.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is hoping to get an additional 10,000 housing vouchers funding this year to pass onto local communities. The goal is to end veteran homelessness in 2015.

NPR

For A Female Banker At The Top Of Her Game, What Does It Take To Stay There?

In the film Equity, investment banker Naomi Bishop navigates the male-dominated world of Wall Street. Screenwriter Amy Fox discusses the film and her research, which included many interviews with women who worked on Wall Street.
NPR

Salvage Supperclub: A High-End Dinner In A Dumpster To Fight Food Waste

The ingredients — think wilted basil, bruised plums, garbanzo bean water — sound less than appetizing. Whipped together, they're a tasty meal that show how home cooks can use often-tossed foods.
NPR

LISTEN: At The DNC, We Asked Women Why They Were Voting For Clinton

We asked women — as young as 4 and as old as 77 — how much the weight of history factored into their decision.
NPR

New Reports Of Hackers In Democratic Party Computer Systems

The Clinton campaign says its systems were not hit but that a program it uses was in the party's compromised system. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was also hacked.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.