If you’re a veteran and are a victim of domestic violence, the Department of Veterans Affairs can help you with housing and support services if you need to flee. If you have children, this includes them. If you are a senior veteran, elder abuse is included in the definition of domestic violence.

The housing and services are provided by two programs, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and Grant and Per Diem. In 2017, public law 114-315 expanded eligibility for both programs to include situations such as fleeing dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and any situation that makes it unsafe for you to stay. The big eligibility hurdle is that you don’t have anywhere else to live.

If you have to get out immediately, you’re eligible for SSVF rapid housing intervention, which is a program to help the homeless get quickly into permanent housing. SSVF has a new component called shallow subsidies, which is essentially a hand up. Rents are below market level, but are not based on a percentage of your income.

Grant and Per Diem gives grants to companies to provide services to homeless veterans, including transitional housing. The GPD program will help with services to get your life back on track, such as stable housing and gaining skills to increase your income.

Go online to www.va.gov/homeless/gpd.asp and www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf/ to gather information and make contacts. The second link, to SSVF, has information for the states that provide the rent subsidies. If your living situation is volatile, gather your information now and keep it in a safe place that you can grab when you need it. Your purse or wallet is not a good place.

In a violent situation, make 911 your first call. When you can, when the situation is safe, collect your saved information and go.

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