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VA's homeless intervention program nears roll out

WASHINGTON -- A Department of Veterans Affairs homeless-prevention program, 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 officials 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," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. "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."

Secretary Shinseki's comments came as VA officials formally announced that they are taking applications from private non-profit 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 officials are 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 1-877-737-0111 or at SSVF@va.gov.