Veterans Housing Programs
updated November 24, 2014

There are many federal, state, and nonprofit programs that help veterans find and keep housing. Often these federal, state, and nonprofit programs all work together to help individual veterans. But the world of veterans benefits and services is very complicated and whichever housing program you choose, it is best to find a contact person to help you navigate these programs.

So first, this article will give you some tips on who to contact to get help in figuring out which program is right for you. Then, keep reading to learn more about the different types of housing options for veterans in Minnesota and how to get in touch with each program.

Get Help Figuring Out Which Program Is Right for You

Here are some resources to help you find one-on-one help. This should be your first step in finding housing programs for veterans.

Veterans Linkage Line (LinkVet)

The Veterans Linkage Line (LinkVet) is a toll-free customer service line and website with live chat. It is staffed by specialists trained by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. LinkVet can help callers with all veterans benefits, both state and federal.

A County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) is a person who can help you find out if you are eligible and apply for veterans programs. A CVSO can also answer any questions you may have and guide you to other options you might not know about. LinkVet can help connect you to a CVSO who can help you figure out your housing options.

You can call LinkVet seven days a week at 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838) and at 1-800-627-3529 (TTY) or visit the LinkVet website.

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) Outreach Division

The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) Field Operations and Veterans Outreach Division is a mobile team that serves veterans in all situations, including veterans who cannot go to a service location because they live too far away or have a disability that makes it hard to travel. The Outreach Representatives will travel to you anywhere in Minnesota’s 87 counties.

MDVA Outreach Representatives are trained caseworkers who act as personal advocates to veterans seeking benefits. They can help file state and federal benefits claims and also help connect veterans to other services, including housing. You can contact the MDVA Outreach division by calling LinkVet at 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838) and at 1-800-627-3529 (TTY).

National Resource Directory

The National Resource Directory (NRD) is one of the features on the eBenefits website. The NRD can help veterans and their families to connect with information and services at the national, state, and local levels. You can also use the NRD to find a local CVSO to help you figure out your housing options.

To learn more about the eBenefits site, the NRD, and veterans benefits in general, read the Getting Help with Your Benefits article on Vets101.org.

Temporary and Transitional Housing Programs

If you are a veteran and are homeless or need housing right away, there are federal, state, and nonprofit programs that can help you find temporary shelter or transitional housing.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Programs

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has federal programs for veterans who need housing help now.

VA Compensated Work Therapy and Residence

The Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) program matches veterans with therapeutic work. The program also provides case management, work experience, transitional employment, sheltered workshops, and supported employment.

The Transitional Residence program provides housing where veterans can live while they are involved in the CWT program. The Transitional Residence program provides a rehabilitation-focused place to live for veterans recovering from mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, and homelessness. This program, which is not available at all CWT locations, requires you to pay your CWT earnings toward the cost of your housing.

If you want to participate in the CWT program, you will need to get a referral from your VA physician. CWT programs are located in the VA Health Care System in many cities around the country. Here is a list of CWT program locations. Learn more about CWT on Vets101.

Minneapolis VA Health Care System Office

The Minneapolis location of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System office runs a Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC). The CRRC has a variety of resources for veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. These services include counseling, medical care, employment services, and housing referrals. They also have a Primary Care Clinic where you can go to do laundry, take a shower, or use the computer lab.

The CRRC also runs housing programs, including transitional and supportive housing with substance use and mental health services.

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Outreach staff are on-site twice a week to help with applications for state and federal benefits, including many programs listed here. The CRRC is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is located at 1201 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403. Visit the CRRC page of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System website to learn more.

State of Minnesota Veterans Programs

The state of Minnesota also has programs to help veterans in Minnesota who need housing help now.

MN Operation for Veterans Empowerment (MOVE)

The Minnesota Operation for Veterans Empowerment (MOVE) is a state program that helps homeless veterans at the Union Gospel Mission in St. Paul, Minnesota. The program offers one-on-one case management with a Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) Outreach Representative. While you are getting case management services, you also can get a bed at the missions at no cost to you. The case managers work with veterans to figure out what resources they need to find housing and improve their situation.

To apply for the MOVE program, call the MDVA receptionist at 651-296-2562.

State Soldier’s Assistance Program

The State Soldier’s Assistance Program gives emergency cash to veterans who are temporarily disabled and unable to work, and at risk of becoming homeless. The program helps with rent or mortgage payments, utilities, dental and eye care, and Special Needs Grants. You can apply for dental and eye benefits every year as needed. The Special Needs Grant can only be used once.

You can get help through this program for up to six months, with a medical statement from a doctor. The guidelines for deciding whether you are eligible for the program are very specific and complex. Your County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) can answer questions and tell you if you are eligible. You also apply for the program through your CVSO. Find your CVSO here, or call the Veterans Linkage Line (LinkVet) at 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838) or 1-800-627-3529 (TTY).

Nonprofit Programs

There are nonprofit programs, which are not a part of the federal or state government, that have services to help Minnesota veterans who need housing help right away.

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV)

The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) is a nonprofit veterans service organization that has many services to help veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They do not offer any services that are already available through federal, state, or country veterans benefits. They do help to fill the gaps in these services, particularly for housing and employment support, and can often provide faster help than government agencies.

MACV provides help with mortgage or rent payments, utilities, transportation, food, employment, and legal referrals. They also run Structured Independent Living Houses that provide temporary housing for up to two years for veterans who are in recovery after getting drug and alcohol treatment.

MACV also hosts StandDown events for homeless veterans throughout the state. These events provide a single place where veterans can go to get a range of services and information. Here is a list of the current StandDown dates and locations.

Visit the MACV website to learn more.

Long-Term and Permanent Housing Programs

If you are a veteran and need housing that is more stable or long-term, there are federal and nonprofit programs that can help you find long-term and permanent housing. There are also many long-term and permanent housing programs that are not just for veterans. You can read more about them on this site.

Remember, if you are confused about which program is right for you, LinkVet can help you figure out your housing options. You can call LinkVet seven days a week at 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838) and at 1-800-627-3529 (TTY) or visit the LinkVet website.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Programs

The VA has federal programs for veterans who need stable, permanent housing.

HUD-VASH

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) program provides vouchers for permanent housing to veterans who are homeless. These vouchers let you choose the place where you want to live, and you can choose any place that accepts these vouchers. Minnesota has a one-time benefit that helps you pay your deposit when you start renting a place. The program also provides case management services to help improve your health and stability.

The eligibility rules are complicated, so even if you are not sure if you are eligible, all veterans should apply and let the VA figure out if you qualify. You should get help applying through your County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO). Find your CVSO here, or by calling the Veterans Linkage Line (LinkVet) at 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838) or 1-800-627-3529 (TTY).

It can take months to actually get a voucher through HUD-VASH, so HUD-VASH should be your long-term plan. While you wait, you should talk to your CVSO about your options for more immediate help.

To learn more, read the HUD-VASH article on Vets101.org.

Nonprofit Programs

There are nonprofit programs, which are not a part of the federal or state government, that have services to help Minnesota veterans who need permanent housing.

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV)

The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) is a nonprofit veterans service organization that has many services to help veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The full range of their services is mentioned earlier in this article.

Besides the temporary and transitional housing help mentioned above, MACV also has a few permanent housing programs.

In Mankato, MACV runs eleven units of permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans with disabilities. In Duluth, they have eleven more permanent housing units for veterans and five transitional housing units (one of which is accessible for people with disabilities). Supportive services are provided on-site.

Visit the MACV website to learn more.

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