Tuesday, October 19, 2010

$41.9 Million Grant Provides Help for Homeless Veterans


It is disheartening to realize that there are veterans who, after faithfully and courageously serving their country, end up homeless and living in the streets of the country that they served. Such a fate is certainly not what a veteran deserves.

Early this month, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced grants worth more than $41.9 million, to be shared by 40 States. The said grants will go to community groups towards providing more than 2,500 beds for homeless veterans this year. Secretary Shinseki said: “These grants wouldn’t have happened without the extraordinary partnerships forged with community organizers. These investments will provide transitional beds to Veterans who have served honorably, but for various reasons now find themselves in a downward spiral toward despair and homelessness.”

Public and non-profit organizations can receive assistance in the establishment and operation of new supportive housing and service centers for homeless veterans, through the Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program.

The total value of the grant is divided into two categories, according to the press release on the Veterans Affairs website. An estimated $26.9 million will be spent towards the renovation, rehabilitation, or acquisition of space for 1,352 transitional housing beds. A total grant of $15 million, on the other hand, will provide funding for 1,216 beds at existing transitional housing for homeless veterans.

The ultimate goal of the Department of Veterans Affairs is to eliminate homelessness among Veterans within five years. Towards this end, the VA will implement a “no wrong door approach”; this means that veterans who ask for help should be able to find what they need in VA programs, from community partners, or through contract services.

This may be a tall order, but our veterans deserve nothing less.

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