Under the leadership of President Obama, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday that they will be using $13.5 million in HUD-VASH vouchers as part of an ongoing effort to end veteran homelessness. The VA has pledged to end veteran homelessness by 2015. This is the second round of housing assistance aimed at helping homeless veterans get into a permanent home. It will help 1,984 homeless veterans, according to a HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) press release. To see a breakdown of where the money is going state to state, click here. The rental assistance announced today is provided through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA. Last October, the two agencies awarded $62 million in HUD-VASH vouchers to assist more than 9,000 homeless veterans. They have issued more than 68,000 vouchers since 2008 and over 80,000 homeless veterans have been helped through the program, according to the press release. The HUD-VASH program is part of President Obama's efforts to get help to homeless veterans. The program involves veterans renting privately owned housing and "generally" paying no more than 30% of their income to rent. Welcoming the progress made with HUD and local partners under the leadership of President Obama, VA Secretary Robert McDonald added, "As long as there remains a single veteran living on our streets, there is more work to be done. HUD-VASH vouchers are a vital tool in our efforts to reduce veteran homelessness." ... HUD-VASH is an important part of the Obama Administration's efforts to provide critical housing and services to veterans experiencing homelessness that also includes HUD's Continuum of Care program as well as VA's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF). Real patriotism is not expressed by waving a flag and chanting "USA!" as a way to prove that your side of the aisle is best. That's closer to nationalism. Patriotism is about our countrywomen and men, hailing from the root of the Latin patriota "countryman" which comes from the Greek πατριώτης (patriōtēs) "countryman", according to Wikipedia. Thus it is about our relationship to one another, at least in part. And for many of us, breaking our promises to our veterans to such an extent that they are homeless is an affront to our sense of patriotism. For many Americans, the idea that our veterans too often become homeless after their service is unconscionable. An honorable nation takes care of its own, especially those to whom it made a promise in return for service. While it's easy to say it's not enough, and indeed no one should be homeless in a civilized society, each forward step we take is worth noting. The twinge of helpless rage and shameful sorrow we feel when we see a homeless veteran is just the tip of the iceberg compared to the suffering of being homeless. Often times, a homeless veteran is too ashamed to take help that they earned and is due to them after their service to our country. But this is a matter of honor for our country. This is something every citizen should be engaged in and working to fix. We are one step closer today. While the VA's goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015 is admirable, they can't do it alone. Go to va.gov/homeless see what you can do to help or to assist a veteran at risk of becoming or already homeless. You can also 877-4AID-VET (424-3838) to reach the VA's services 24 hours a day.