Mayor Eric Garcetti this week announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) awarded to the Housing Authority of the city of Los Angeles (HACLA) 490 new HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers to house chronically homeless veterans.

Each VASH voucher includes a rental subsidy to pay rent and supportive services to help address physical and mental health and substance abuse issues. The VASH vouchers will be used to house 490 homeless veterans who have been homeless for more than 12 months or four times in the last three years and have a serious disability.

“Los Angeles is one step closer to ensuring that the men and women who served our nation are not left on the streets,” said Garcetti. “Our veterans deserve to be treated with dignity and it is our job to provide them with all the support that they need. I would like to particularly thank HUD Secretary Julian Castro and the Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald for providing the federal support we need to stay on track to meet our goal to end veteran homelessness this year.”

Los Angeles has the largest concentration of homeless veterans in the nation. In 2014, Mayor Garcetti pledged to end veterans’ homelessness in the city by 2016. In the first year of the pledge, the city housed 3,375 homeless veterans. With a little less than a year left in the pledge, the city and its pledge partner, Home for Good, estimate that there are 3,154 homeless veterans who will need housing in 2015.

This year’s VASH allocation comes earlier than in prior years, in part to respond to the city’s efforts to end veterans’ homelessness by the deadline. In prior years, HUD made the VASH allocations in August or September. Last fall, Garcetti asked Castro and McDonald to allocate the 2015 VASH vouchers earlier. This earlier allocation will allow the city to more quickly house homeless veterans.

“HACLA has been working with partners across various sectors to come up with a sustainable solution to solve this critical issue,” said HACLA President and CEO Douglas Guthrie. “This latest award of additional vouchers is crucial in that effort.”

With this award, HACLA now operates the largest VASH program in the nation. HACLA’s total allocation is now 3,669 HUD-VASH vouchers, providing more than $30 million of rental assistance per year.

HUD-VASH is a joint program between the federal departments of HUD and Veterans Affairs, as well as local public housing agencies and VA Medical Centers. HUD-VASH vouchers provide homeless and chronically homeless veterans with tenant-based permanent supportive housing, which means housing assistance coupled with individually appropriate supportive services needed to retain housing. Eligible homeless veterans are referred to HACLA by case managers from the Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center and community-based contractors. Case management and other supportive services are provided through the VA and VA-funded organizations.