Military Connection: VA Awards $207 Mil in Grants: By Debbie Gregory

homeless VeteranThe U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is awarding $207 million to help homeless and at-risk Veterans.

On August 11, 2014, the VA announced that it was awarding a total of $300 million to 301 different community agencies. The agencies receiving the funds are those that can help end homelessness among Veterans as part of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. On September 30, VA Secretary Robert McDonald announced an additional $207 million will be added to help 70,000 more homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families.

Since the start of the SSVF program in fiscal year 2012, it has served over a hundred thousand Veterans. In 2012 alone, with $20 million awarded to the program, more than 35,000 Veterans and their family members were helped off the streets, or prevented from becoming homeless. In 2013, the program was expanded to $100 million and served 115,000 Veterans and their families.

With the additional $207 million, the VA expects the SSVF program to reach over 185,000 Veterans and family members in 2015. The grants will be distributed among 82 non-profit agencies across the nation, and include “surge” funding for 56 high-need communities.

Under the SSVF program, the VA awards grants to private non-profit organizations and groups that provide services to very low-income Veteran families. The organizations provide a range of services that promote housing stability among Veteran families who make less than 50% of the median income for the area that they live in.

Under the terms of the SSVF grants, providers offer low-income Veterans and their family members outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits, and assistance in receiving other public benefits.  Community-based groups can also offer temporary financial assistance for rent payments, utility payments, security deposits and moving costs.

Through the homeless Veterans initiative, the VA has allotted over $1 billion in 2014 to fortify programs that prevent and end homelessness among military Veterans. The VA also provides an array of services to homeless and at-risk Veterans, including housing, job training, education, and health care.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to using evidence based approaches such as SSVF to prevent homelessness and produce successful outcomes for Veterans and their families,” Sec. McDonald said. “This is a program that works, because it allows VA staff and local homeless service providers to work together to address the unique challenges that make it difficult for some Veterans and their families to remain stably housed.”

For more information about homeless programs through the VA please visit www.va.gov/homeless.

Details about the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program are online at www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp.

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Military Connection: VA Awards $207 Mil in Grants: By Debbie Gregory