On September 19, 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it will fund 38 projects in 25 states and the District of Columbia to provide transitional housing to homeless U.S. veterans. The veterans benefit project will cost $28.4 million, according to the U.S Department of Defense.
“Securing permanent housing is a vital step in the journey of our homeless veterans,” Dr. Susan Angell, executive director of the VA’s Veterans Homeless Initiative, said. “This is the last piece of the puzzle, and it is crucial for them in continuing to lead independent lives.”
The majority of the grants, 31 out of the total 38, come from the VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program’s “Transition in Place” model, which allows veterans to begin paying rent on a lease instead of having to move out after using VA services. Other VA programs – including substance use counseling, job training and mental health services – do not afford the same opportunity, and require veterans to move out of transitional housing after 24 months.
The GPD helps secure available housing for vulnerable homeless veterans including Native American tribal populations, women with children and individuals with mental health or substance abuse problems, the source reported. They fund many community-based programs to provide support services and housing for veterans. To receive a grant, a project must undergo an extensive review by a team of government experts. They rank projects based on a list of objective criteria to ensure that they will provide the promised benefits and services.
“As we drive toward our goal to end homelessness among veterans by 2015, VA continues to find innovative ways to permanently house veterans who were formerly homeless,” said Eric Shinseki, VA secretary. “Under President Barack Obama’s leadership, we have made incredible strides in creating programs to aid these brave men and women who have served our nation so well.”
In 2011, more than 67,000 veterans were homeless on any given night. This represents a 12 percent decrease since the same time in 2010, and shows that the government and VA’s five-year commitment to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015 is well underway. In the first ten months of operation, the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program has already helped more than 28,000 veterans and their families get off the streets.
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