Char-Koosta News

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VA announces new grants to help end veterans homelessness

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald this week announced the award of approximately $300 million in grants that will help approximately 115,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. The grants will be distributed to 301 community agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is awarding grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives that provide services to very low-income veteran families living in — or transitioning to —permanent housing. Those community organizations provide a range of services that promote housing stability among eligible very low-income veteran families (those making less than 50 percent of the area median income). The grants announced today will fund the fourth year of the SSVF program.

“By working with community non-profit organizations, we have enlisted valuable partners in our fight to end homelessness,” McDonald said. “The work of SSVF grantees has already helped thousands of homeless Veterans and their families find homes and thousands more have been able to stay in their own homes.”

Under the terms of the grants, homeless providers will offer veterans and their family members outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits and assistance in receiving other public benefits. Community-based groups can offer temporary financial assistance on behalf of veterans for rent payments, utility payments, security deposits and moving costs.

In 2009, President Barrack Obama announced the federal government’s goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015. The grants are intended to help accomplish that goal. According to the 2013 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, homelessness among veterans has declined 24 percent since 2009.

“We want to make sure our veterans receive the care and support that they have earned and deserve,” McDonald added. “This is a program that, indeed, makes a difference.”

Through the Eliminating Veteran Homelessness Initiative, VA committed more than $1 billion in FY 2014 to strengthen programs that prevent and end homelessness among Veterans. VA provides a range of services to homeless veterans, including health care, housing, job training, and education.

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