The persistent problem of homelessness among veterans calls into serious question our national commitment to treating our former service members with the dignity they deserve. The Veterans Administration is responding to this issue with programs to enhance outreach to homeless vets and provide funding for transitional housing and supportive services. In addition to the VA, civic organizations are also providing funds to address the problem. In recent weeks, the VA has announced several positive developments in this area:
Supportive Services for Veteran Families program renewed — SSVF serves thousands of very low-income veteran families nationwide. The program has been re-authorized to provide $300 million in assistance to prevent homelessness or rapidly re-house vets who become homeless. This program served 127,829 participants in FY 2014 and may serve as many as 135,000 in FY 2015.
Grant and per diem program renewed — The VA recently announced that $12.8 million from the GPD program would go to 20 community agencies that provide transitional housing and supportive services for homeless veterans. These agencies use the Transition in Place model which encourages rapid progress from transitional to permanent housing, allowing a vet to live as independently as possible.
Elks pledge $4 million to fight veteran homelessness — The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America is a civic organization with a history of strong support for the veteran community. In this past fiscal year, 1,300 Elks volunteered more than 117,000 hours in VA facilities throughout the nation. Now the organization has pledged to donate $4 million over a four-year period to help end veteran homelessness. Elks will also work with the Veterans Health Administration staff on pilot programs in Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago.
At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, we fully support efforts to end veteran homelessness. We long for the day when every veteran lives in dignity and has access to all the benefits that their honorable service has earned.
If you or a veteran you love has been denied VA benefits, our accredited attorneys can help. From anywhere in the country, you can call Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban at 866-866-VETS or contact our veterans’ benefits law firm online.