Thursday, June 20, 2013

Referance page: Leaving GRH4V, getting back on your feet in the real world.

Grand Rapids Home for veterans is in violation of the federal laws, and may be the state laws too, as it is supposed to provide veterans with information on obtaining housing, and how to sign up for programs that would allow them, or to help them leave the veterans home and rejoin society.

This is not happening at all.  So this post is dedicated to telling the guys how to do so, and giving them information so that they can.

Get this part thru your head ASAP: THERE IS NO HELP for you. They will do NOTHING unless you make it happen.
  Your best chance of success is if you take a roommate with you.  Some one both of you can live with for 2 or 3 years while your HUD VASH becomes available.

In a state that has lost 33 million people over the last 10 years, its hard to figure out how we have a housing shortage - we do not, we have a pricing problem. And that problem is not going away.

First. If you want help, you must be a resident of the county where you will be living at. If that county is not Kent (Grand Rapids), then you need to establish residency in your county of choice.

Having a mailing address or point of contact means nothing to these people, except that they will use that as your proof of residency. In other words if you are a Veteran member whose family is in Macosta county (Big Rapids), and you want to return there, you will need a mailing address (PO box will NOT work) in that county. You then contact the counties DHS and HUD offices. They may even have a veterans outreach clinic, as Kent county does.

Now the veterans in GRH4V got screwed. Someone decided that since they have 3 hots and a Cot, that they were not homeless, yet the home classifies many or most in Dom unit, as homeless. And the US Post office does not recognize the homes address to be a valid residency address.  The  US post office does NOT deliver mail to the home! So you cannot use that address as a valid address to establish residency.

Now, get the following documents, and have them ready - you will need them.
A. Original DD214  or certified copy.
B. Birth Certificate or certified copy
C. Social Security card.
D. Photo ID.  State issued ID, State Drivers license, and your VA card will work.
E. Income verification.
     If you have any kind of money coming in from a pension, or Social security or what ever, you need income verification sheet showing them  how much you get. If you get food stamps or any kind of assistance from Michigan Dept of Human Services (DHS) You must get verification from them as well.

Have those documents ready.

Now, for Kent county you go down to the Veterans outreach center located on 620 Century Ave. That's the road right next to the express way on the west side of it. The building is located 1 block  north of the Franklin street exit.

Go in there and tell them what you need - housing assistance, etc. They will get you started. Mention you want HUD VASH program for veterans, or housing based on income, and they will have you Talk to one of 2 people and you will need those documents above.

They may have you go to the Salvation army Booth family services office, on 1120 Monroe. This building is located on the east side of Monroe, just south of Leonard street, right across from the city worker office which is on the west side of the street.

Here they will have you prove residency. Now I've been here several times and so far, got nothing out of them other than a listing of rentals that I could have gotten off the internet.  And I had to change my point of contact from my sisters house in Allegan county, to a friends house in Kent county.

If you do not have anyone in Kent county, there are 2 locations downtown where you can go and get an "address" to use. They will give you a mail box. Ask about this at the Vet center on Century.

KENT CO VETERANS HELP CENTER. And  Kent county HUD, are both located at 82 Ionia. If you drive there, Ionia is a one way street. You can park in the city lot just 1 block south of the building, for 1 hour for free, 1 dollar each half hour after that,  with a 14 dollar max charge.

82 Ionia is on the other side of the street, and has government security check, so do not take any knives or any kind of weapons, explosives, etc.. My Bic lighter and smokes went thru ok. You will go thru a scanner, etc..

3rd floor is both Veterans and HUD offices (they are across the hall from each other).

The veterans help is a 1 shot deal. They need your ORIGINAL or certified copy of the DD214.
Some guys they can help, others they cannot. They are NOT the VA. So if you where a "peace time" veteran who gets VA help, do not be surprised if these guys cannot help you.  It does not hurt to try to get some kind of help from them. They can help with first months rent, or deposit or moving expenses or paying utility bills etc.. check them out.

The HUD is for the VASH or section 8 system and they will send you back to talk to one of the Ladies at the Vets outreach center on Century Ave.

As for subsidized housing, I have no idea.. more on this later.

Update #1.

Renting apartments. Most apartment complexes have an income formula, that determines if you qualify to rent there. The formula is  Rent due x a given number. Sometimes that its 2.2, 2.5,  but the average is 3 times the rent due.

This effectively prevents most disabled veterans who get basic Disability from being able to rent even a small 1 b4edroom apartment.

Most 1 bedroom apartments in the GR area run from 500 to 600 dollars a month. And most SSDI (social security disability income) payments are 1262 on average at current time.

So a veteran almost absolutely needs to be part of a section 8 HUD program, or income based rent program, to be able to get a place of their own.

At a time in Michigan's economy where the state has lost over 32 million people in the last 10 years, there should not be a housing SHORTAGE, but that is what it appears to be in the Grand Rapids area.

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