November 12, 2013, 08:00:00 AM
WASHINGTON—The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved $8.8 million in grants to fund 164 projects in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to rehabilitate currently operational transitional housing projects and acquire vans to facilitate the transportation needs of homeless Veterans.
“President Obama has made eliminating Veterans’ homelessness a national priority,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We want every Veteran who faces homelessness to know that VA is here to help. The Grant and Per Diem Program provides significant assistance to those who need it.”
The grants awarded through the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program are for currently operational grantees, who will use this funding to rehabilitate their current project locations to enhance safety, security and privacy for the homeless Veterans they serve. Additionally, funding for these organizations to acquire vans will assist homeless Veterans with transportation to medical appointments and employment opportunities, as well as enable grantees to conduct outreach within their communities.
GPD helps close gaps in available housing for the nation’s most vulnerable homeless Veterans, including men and women with children, Indian tribal populations, and Veterans with substance use and mental health issues. Community-based programs funded by GPD provide homeless Veterans with support services and housing. GPD grants are offered annually as funding is available by VA’s homeless Veterans programs.
Lisa Pape, National Director of Homeless Programs, which oversees GPD, said, “These grant awards are a reinvestment in the community that will strengthen community services around the country so that homeless Veterans have access to safe and secure housing and receive quality support and services.
“The 2013 GPD grant awards represent an ongoing commitment to VA’s community partners. These awards will make community-based GPD facilities safer and secure, ensuring that our community partners continue to provide excellent mental health support, employment assistance and job training with the essential component of housing,” Pape added. “Whether it is aid in overcoming substance use or finding a job, a community helping hand is exactly what these Veterans need to lead a better quality of life.”
Since 2009, homelessness among Veteran has decreased more than 17 percent. As part of President Obama’s and Shinseki’s five-year plan to eliminate Veteran homelessness by 2015, VA has committed over $1 billion in fiscal year 2014 to strengthen programs that prevent and treat the many issues that can lead to Veteran homelessness.
To help a homeless Veteran or Veteran at risk of homelessness, refer them to the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, 1-877-4AID-VET, or direct them to www.va.gov/homeless. The hotline connects homeless Veterans, Veterans at risk of becoming homeless and their families with the VA services and benefits they have earned.
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