In January, Veterans United chief writer Levi Newman reported that female veteran homelessness has nearly doubled since 2006. The Department of Veterans Affairs has just taken another step towards solving the problem of veteran homelessness. On July 17, the VA announced $100 million in grants for homeless veterans, which will help approximately 42,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families.
The awards will be granted to 151 community programs in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Secretary for Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said that the grants will help the VA and community organizations prevent at-risk veterans from losing their homes. The VA hopes to end veteran homelessness by 2015.
Outreach for Veterans and Their Families
The VA will award the grants under the Supportive Services for Veterans Families to non-profit organizations, which provide resources to low-income veterans families living in permanent housing.
Homeless providers will offer veterans and their family members outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits and assistance in getting 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. Last year the VA awarded about $60 million to help erase veteran homelessness.
The Huffington Post reported that, according to the Center For American Progress, more than one million veterans are at risk of becoming homeless, while tens of thousands of former service members are already living without shelter. One in seven homeless people previously served in the military, a December 2011 report found.
Supportive Services for Veterans Families
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) assists homeless and at-risk veteran families. Through the SSVF the VA aims to improve the housing stability of veterans and their families. Benefits might include:
- Healthcare services
- Daily living expenses
- Personal financial planning services
- Transportation services
- Legal Services
- Child care services
- Housing counseling services
If you or anyone you know would like to help a veteran in need, please contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838).
Photo courtesy of Gerald L. Campbell