VA program gives out grant money to reduce veteran homelessness

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COLUMBIA - Some low-income veteran families in mid-Missouri will soon get an extra helping hand.

Supportive Services for Veteran Families recently received a grant to be given to local programs that will help the families. 

SSVF Point of Contact Blake Witter said the money will allow them to assist the veterans in more specific needs.

"It helps them get first month's rent,"  Witter said. "It can help with security deposits and utility deposits. That's critical when it comes to getting people in stable housing."

Each grantee organization was required to apply for the grant back in March. The ones that were selected will be able to use the money to directly support the veterans needs depending on their request in their application. 

SSVF grantees typically serve veterans with incomes below 30 percent of the area median income. Witter said this grant is aimed at ending homelessness among veterans, but is not limited to only veterans without houses.

"This grant allows us to get financial support for veterans when they get placed in permanent supportive housing, but it also allows them to get financial assistance even when they're not going into one of our programs," Witter said.

The grantees will have to disperse the money depending on the rules and information presented in their grant. On the other hand, Witter said SSVF will work closely with the providers through programs such as the HUD-VASH program, the Health Care for Homeless Veterans program, and the Transitional Housing program. 

Overall, the award money went to 286 nonprofit organizations consumer cooperatives nationwide. Locally, the money will be shared among 14 mid-Missouri counties.

$211,000 is set to be dispersed through Phoenix Programs, located in Columbia. Welcome Home Inc., will be receiving $190,000. 

The funding will assist in services within the 2016 fiscal year which starts Oct. 1, 2015.