Columbia Agencies Receive Continued Federal Funding to Prevent Veteran Homelessness
Two local agencies will be receiving more than $400,000 to continue programs that work to prevent homelessness in the veteran populations of Mid-Missouri. Phoenix Health Programs is one of the programs and has been awarded more than $200,000, while Welcome Home, Inc. has been awarded more than $190,000.
Stephen Gaither, the spokesperson for the Truman Veterans’ Hospital, said the money comes from the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (SSVF) through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He said the SSVF funding was about $300 million nationally and went to 286 organizations throughout the country.
Gaither added that the funds given to both Phoenix Health Programs and Welcome Home were renewals, and these organizations have been working with homeless veterans and veterans at risk for several years.
Sarah Grim, the chief executive officer for Welcome Home Incorporated, said the grant money will help Welcome Home continue to serve nearly 60 low-income individuals each year. This program includes veterans and their families, and helps veterans pay their rent and afford their utility deposits.
Welcome Home’s programs have helped numerous veterans and continue to be successful, Grim said.
“95% of the individual veterans and their families that we work with on this side of the equation - which is prevention and keeping them in a home situation - 95% of those individuals served remain in their home and have that same outcome six months later,” Grim said.
She said this preventative work also helps ensure that Welcome Home doesn’t see an influx of homeless veterans in their shelter.
Gaither said nationally the number of homeless veterans has gone down dramatically over the last five to six years, but he thinks it’s important that work to prevent veterans from becoming homeless continues.
“All of these programs have the same goal and that is to reduce and eventually eliminate homelessness in the veteran population,” Gaither said.
The new SSVF funds will allow supportive services to continue for the next fiscal year, which begins in October.