By JIM VINES
On the heels of the recent announcement by the VA concerning grants for veterans’ transportation needs, the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced $17 million in grants to train and employ homeless veterans.
The grants are awarded under the Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP). New grantees were awarded $6.7 million in 15 states, and current program grantees received $10.3 million in second-year funding.
Through HVRP, about 12,000 veterans across 31 states will receive these funds for occupational training, education, placement assistance and other key services. The Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) expects more than 8,000 homeless veterans will gain employment as a result of these grants. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis due to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies, and non-profit organizations, including faith based and community organizations, which have familiarity with the area and population to be served and can administer an effective program.
HVRP has been recognized nationwide as an extraordinarily efficient program and is the only federal program that focuses exclusively on employment of veterans who are homeless. For more information go to www.grants.gov/search.
Shriners helping injured vets
The Shriners continue to assist veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars due to the VA being overrun with an enormous number of returning injured veterans. These veterans, many with burns and/or orthopedic and prosthetic injuries, are being accepted at no cost whatsoever. The Shriners do not accept insurance or government funds and don’t have a billing department. They are 100 percent donation-supported, and more than 95 percent of all money goes directly to patient care.
The understanding that this war has a serious impact on our nation continues to be the driving force behind the Shriners’ pledge to to aid the men and women of our Armed Forces. Check with your local veterans service organizations to make any donation to the Shriners. American Legion Post 75 in Mineral Wells has been a longtime supporter of this cause. Contact Robert Freeman, executive board committee, Post 75 member, at 940-682-8268 for any questions or donations.