July 26, 2013
United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) was recently awarded a $1,347,519 grant for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The award continues a program that got underway in Central Indiana in 2011 and has since helped more than 300 households.
The program aims to prevent at-risk veterans from becoming homeless and to rapidly re-house those who recently became homeless through services promoting housing stability and connecting veterans and their families to mental health care and other benefits to which they are entitled.
The new funding will benefit approximately 400 veterans and their families in Central Indiana. It can be used to offer temporary financial assistance to veterans for rent and utility payments, security deposits and moving costs. Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF), a United Way agency, and HealthNet Homeless Initiative Program, administer the services locally.
"This is a wonderful example of United Way’s commitment to work with the public sector to lift people out of crisis while also providing them with the tools needed to strive for a better future," said Ann Murtlow, United Way's president and chief executive officer.
The story of one Gulf War veteran's turnaround earlier this year shows what's possible, Murtlow said.
An army veteran and his family faced eviction because he was only able to get part-time work and had fallen behind in rent payments. After the program provided one month of rent along with case management services through HVAF, the veteran learned about other available benefits. He was then able to use his Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to go back to school and become a chef. This family is now self-sufficient and working toward new goals.
UWCI received $638,513 in 2011 and $672,380 in 2012 from the VA to administer the program. The 2013 grant exceeds the first two years combined.
The grants are intended to help end veteran homelessness by 2015. According to the homeless point-in-time count recently published by the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, from 2012-2013 there was a 9 percent decrease in homelessness among veterans in Marion County. For more information about the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Locally, for more information call the Homeless Initiative Program, 317.931.3055, or HVAF of Indiana, at 317.951.0688.
Services to address and prevent homelessness are part of United Way's focus on basic needs as one of four strategies to achieve its mission: to help people learn more, earn more and lead safe and healthy lives.
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