SEATTLE (AP) — The Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs say they will give almost $5 million in vouchers to public housing authorities in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington state.

The 675 HUD veteran rental assistance vouchers went to 27 public housing authorities in four states.

Officials say the vouchers are critical tools in helping communities effectively end homelessness among veterans.

When combined with earlier awards, the vouchers mean 41 housing authorities have the capacity to provide affordable housing to almost 6,000 veterans who risk homelessness.

The awards announced in a press release Sunday were part of a national announcement of $43 million awarded to 325 housing authorities.

HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Jeff McMorris says thanks to the program, thousands of once-homeless veterans in the Pacific Northwest have homes.