Collins, King Announce Grant Funding to Support Homeless Veterans in Maine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 16, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded federal grant funding to Preble Street in Portland, the Washington Hancock Community Agency (WHCA), and Veterans Inc. in Lewiston to assist homeless and at-risk veterans in Maine.

Preble Street will receive $1,683,966, WHCA will receive $290,000 and Veterans Inc., based in Massachusetts, will receive $2,000,000 to disburse throughout its locations in New England, including in Lewiston. The federal funding is granted through the Supportive Services Veterans for Veterans Families (SSVF) program, which works in collaboration with the VA to promote housing stability by providing services such as mental health care and temporary financial assistance.

“The brave men and women who have served our country and risked their lives for our freedom deserve the most comprehensive and accessible support programs available,” Senators Collins and King said in a joint statement. “These SSVF grants will support Preble Street, WHCA, and Veterans Inc., as they work to ensure that all Maine veterans spend each night with a roof over their heads and provide critical support services. While there is still a long road ahead in the fight to end veteran homelessness, this funding is an important step forward in that critical endeavor.”

SSFV grantees typically serve veterans with an income below 30 percent of the area median income. Grantees must follow the housing first approach, which centers on permanently housing homeless veterans quickly without preconditions and providing supportive services as needed. SSVF grantees must also organize outreach to find and serve at-risk and low-income veterans and support veterans in receiving VA and other public benefits.

Preble Street was founded in 1975 as a neighborhood center to empower homeless and low-income residents in the Portland area. It leverages the public and private sector to help end hunger, homelessness, and poverty to build strong, healthy communities.

Veterans Inc. is headquartered in Massachusetts and is the largest provider of support services to veterans and their families in New England. Incorporated in 1990 by a group of Vietnam veterans concerned about the significant number of homeless vets, Veterans Inc. has now expanded to nine sites across New England and has assisted more than 60,000 veterans in need.

Since 1966, the Washington Hancock Community Agency (WHCA) has served as the Community Action Agency for Hancock and Washington Counties. Community Action Agencies like WHCA were established as a part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty legislation, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. WHCA has remained committed to supporting low-income families and individuals for nearly 50 years.

More information on the VA’s homeless programs is available at www.va.gov/homeless, and details about the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program can be found at www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp.

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