Congresswoman says Old Pueblo Community Services will receive federal funding to house 20 veterans
TUCSON, AZ – October 7, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords today announced that a Tucson agency will receive a grant worth more than a quarter million dollars annually from the Veterans Administration to house 20 job-seeking homeless veterans.
“For too long, many of our bravest men and women who stepped forward to serve our nation have fallen through the cracks after they’ve returned home,” said Giffords, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “We must commit ourselves to helping these veterans transition back into society.”
Old Pueblo Community Services will receive funding to house 20 homeless veterans, according to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. The grant is worth about $259,000 per year and will be renewed annually, said Nick Jones, CEO of Old Pueblo.
“This is a badly needed service, both in Tucson and nationwide,” Jones said. “This grant will allow us to expand our ability to house homeless women veterans, which is the fastest-growing segment of the homeless-veteran population in the nation.”
Jones said Old Pueblo works with Tucson’s VA medical center to provide housing to veterans who are looking for work while receiving other services from the VA. The veterans are housed at five different places throughout the Tucson community.
“These grants wouldn’t have happened without the extraordinary partnerships forged with community organizers,” said Shinseki. “These investments will provide transitional beds to veterans who have served honorably, but for various reasons now find themselves in a downward spiral toward despair and homelessness.”
The grants are a key component of the VA’s plan to eliminate homelessness among veterans within five years. The grants and per diem payments have helped reduce the number of veterans who were homeless on a typical night last year by 18 percent within one year. Nationwide, an estimated 107,000 veterans are homeless, the VA estimates.
VA’s strategy to eliminate homelessness among veterans is to implement a “no wrong door” approach, meaning veterans who seek assistance should find it in any number of VA’s programs, from community partners or through contract services.
The VA offers a full range of support to end the cycle of homelessness among veterans by providing education, jobs, health care and counseling, in addition to housing. VA is increasing the number and variety of housing options available to homeless veterans and those at risk, including permanent, transitional, contracted, community-operated and VA-operated housing.
The VA also has established a national call center for homeless veterans at 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838).
This is the second federal grant that Old Pueblo Community Services has received recently. The U.S. Department of Justice last month awarded a $300,000 grant to the organization to assist veterans about to leave prison. The grant will allow Old Pueblo to partner incarcerated veterans with a mentor four months before they are scheduled to be released to ease their transition to society, Jones said.