by German Lopez
Grant will provide $600,000 for at-risk and homeless vets
Three homeless aid groups in Cincinnati are getting a bit
of help from the federal government. On Sept. 19, the Secretary of
Veteran Affairs announced it awarded nearly $600 million to homeless aid
groups around the United States, and three local organizations managed
to secure $600,000 of that funding.
The money will be awarded primarily to Ohio Valley
Goodwill Industries, but Goodwill has partnered up with Strategies to
End Homelessness and the Healing Center at Vineyard Community Church to
make full use of the money.
Kevin Finn, executive director of Strategies to End
Homelessness, says the money will help make up for stimulus funding that
was recently lost — at least in the case of military veterans.“It’s going to go to helping veterans and their families
that are either at risk of becoming homeless or already homeless,” Finn
That makes the grant funding different in two major ways:
First, the money can now be used to help veterans’ families, not just
veterans. Typically, aid to veterans is allocated in a way that can only
benefit veterans, but this money will help their husbands, wives and children.
Also, the money will also be used to help vets at risk
for homelessness instead of just vets who are already homeless. With the
traditional, limited funding, homeless aid groups can only reach out to
people who are already out in the streets; with this new funding, groups
like Strategies to End Homeless will be capable of taking preventative
measures that keep vets in a home.
The new funding, which Finn estimates will help about 200
families, will be divided between the local organizations so they can
each take on different roles. For Strategies to End Homelessness, that
mostly means working on short-term solutions for homeless or at-risk
“The biggest (services) will be rentals and financial
assistance to either get them to be stable in housing or keep them in
their housing and prevent them from becoming homeless,” Finn says.
After that, care will shift to Goodwill, which will
work on job training, job searching, tutoring, computer training and
other important tools to help keep vets employed and housed.
“If the financial support can keep them from being
homeless in the short term, then the services that the Goodwill case
manager will put in place will hopefully keep them from being homeless
in the long term,” Finn says.
To reach out to vets in need, the organizations will use current connections, street outreach programs and phone hotlines to make
sure the program reaches as many people as possible while staying
efficient. To Finn, one of the most important tasks of Strategies to
End Homelessness is to make sure no funding is wasted and the
organizations coordinated by Strategies to End Homelessness do not have
Strangely enough, aid to vets has become a political issue
recently. Forty Republicans in the U.S. Senate recently blocked the
Veteran Jobs Corps Act, which would have funded job programs for
military veterans. Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich recently introduced a
resolution in the Ohio General Assembly to encourage U.S. Senate
Republicans to pass the bill.