Stroke enhances proliferation of neural precursor cells within the subventricular zone (SVZ) and induces ectopic migration of newborn cells towards the site of injury. Here, we characterize the identity of cells arising from the SVZ after stroke and uncover a mechanism through which they facilitate neural repair and functional recovery. With genetic lineage tracing, we show that SVZ-derived cells that migrate towards cortical photothrombotic stroke in mice are predominantly undifferentiated precursors. We find that ablation of neural precursor cells or conditional knockout of VEGF impairs neuronal and vascular reparative responses and worsens recovery. Replacement of VEGF is sufficient to induce neural repair and recovery. We also provide evidence that CXCL12 from peri-infarct vasculature signals to CXCR4-expressing cells arising from the SVZ to direct their ectopic migration. These results support a model in which vasculature surrounding the site of injury attracts cells from the SVZ, and these cells subsequently provide trophic support that drives neural repair and recovery.