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The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish (In Memoriam)

City of Portland Commissioner

phone: 503-823-3589


1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204

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For Want of a Nail

May 9, 2013

Today, The Oregonian featured a story about our community rallying to support homeless veterans.

The story, by Mike Francis, illustrates the barriers faced by our veterans who are unable to afford to rent a home.

The HUD/VASH voucher program provides rent assistance to homeless veterans through its Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8). The Portland area received 305 of these vouchers, but they help with rent assistance only.

VASH doesn’t pay for application fees, security deposits, and other costs associated with moving into a home.  Those costs have been a barrier for many veterans, and they have not been able to use their VASH vouchers.

As Mike Francis wrote in his story, “For want of a nail, in other words, a battle to house veterans was being lost”

The City was proud to partner with United Way,Multnomah County, and Home Forward on “Operation 305” – an effort to ensure our veterans used each of those 305 vouchers. Each partner invested $10,000 to help cover moving costs for HUD/VASH holders, and help them overcome the roadblocks to secure a home.

Operation 305 has been a success – in fact, we surpassed our goal.

Thanks to a great team effort, 308 veterans now have a safe, affordable place to call home.

Special thanks in particular to the Portland Housing Bureau’s Ending Homelessness Initiative Manager Sally Erickson and her team for their outstanding work.

Veterans such as Lecester Shakier find places to live thanks to broad effort to cut homelessness

Mike Francis in The Oregonian

Photo courtesy of The Oregonian