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Kudos to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their proactive approach in the fight against homelessness

A homeless-prevention program by the VA, which seeks to help veterans and families who are on the verge of becoming homeless, has moved closer to implementation. The program marks the first time that VA will fund services for the spouses and children of veterans at risk of becoming homeless.

“The problems that lead to homelessness begin long before veterans and their families are on the streets,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “By putting more resources into intervention programs for people at risk of becoming homeless, we can reduce suffering and increase the opportunities for turning around these lives.”

Shinseki’s comments came as VA formally announced that it is taking applications from private nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives interested in providing needed services to at-risk veterans and their families.

With funding from VA for the program, called Supportive Services for Veterans Families, community organizations will be better able to provide counseling, training, education assistance, direct time-limited financial assistance, transportation, child care, rent, utilities, and other services to participating veterans and family members.

In January, VA is sponsoring free grant-writing workshops for community organizations interested in applying for funds under this program. The workshops will be held in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston and New York City.

When the “Notice of Funds Availability” applications are available, they will be posted on the VA Web site at www1.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp.

Details about the workshops and other information about the program are available on the Internet at www1.va.gov/homeless.

Community organizations can also contact VA at 877/737-0111 or at SSVF@va.gov.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.