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May 26, 2013

VETERANS' CORNER: Ending veteran homelessness

By JIM VINES

On May 17, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced two new grants established toward its goal of ending veteran homelessness in 2015.

Under these new programs, homeless providers can apply for funding to enhance the facilities used to serve homeless veterans and acquire vans to facilitate transportation of this population.

Those who have served this nation as veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope. Homeless prevention grants provide community partners with the opportunity to help prevent and end homelessness on the local level. This is a crucial tool to get at risk veterans and their families on the road to stable, secure lives.

Approximately $22 million in rehabilitation funds will be available to current operational grant and per diem grantees as part of the effort to increase the useful life of the facilities previously funded under the program. The VA expects current grant and per diem grantees will apply for funding to rehabilitate their current project location and and enhance the safety, security and privacy issues associated with the homeless veteran populations they serve. A maximum of $250,000 is available per award and the award will not be more than 65 percent of the estimated total cost of the rehabilitation activity. The VA has established funding priorities  to support its oldest capitally funded projects.

In addition, approximately $2 million in funds will be available for current operational grant and per diem grantees to assist in the acquisition of vans in order to facilitate transportation of veteran participants to medical appointments, employment opportunities in the community, and facilitate grantees outreach activities. The maximum award for a van will be $35,000. The amount of their award will not exceed 65 percent of the total cost of the van. Applications for both awards are due to the grant and per diem office no later than 4 p.m. Eastern time on June 28.

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