NEW: Worcester Homeless Vets To Get Boost From $1.5 Million Awarded to MA
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Joined by Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) Secretary Coleman Nee, officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness and Veteran service providers at a forum to address housing for homeless veterans in Western Massachusetts, Murray outlined the announced funding as part of a new contract from the VA New England Health Care System.
“By working across agencies and in partnership with many advocates and service providers, Massachusetts continues to make great strides in providing resources for our military servicemen and women,” Murray said.
“We welcome this great news, but there is plenty more work to be done. This increased funding will complement our ongoing work with local, state and federal partners as we address a statewide plan to help individuals and families, including our veteran population, transition to affordable and stable housing.”
The DVS will use the funds to institute the Statewide Housing Advocacy for Reintegration and Prevention (SHARP) model to the Housing & Urban Development – VA Supported Housing program.
The SHARP model, which is administered by DVS, offers peer support, mental health services, psychiatric evaluation and linkages to emergency shelter to veterans recently placed in supportive housing at a veteran-centric facility. The team also identifies and enrolls new homeless veterans in the HUD-VASH program. The new funding will enable the hiring of nine new peer support specialists and 12 new case managers, as well as the issuance of over 300 new HUD vouchers for VA-supported housing.
Two of those new case managers will be coming to Worcester, where they will work with the non-profit outreach provider Veterans Inc. There will also be a locally-based DVS employee to provide peer support and act as an advocate for Central Mass veterans, working with them one-on-one as they attempt to navigate the many local, state and federal benefits programs.
“Massachusetts leads the nation in providing benefits and services to our veterans and their families,” said Nee.
“By coordinating the resources of federal, state, local and not-for-profit entities working with veterans, we have been able to serve more people, establish better outcomes and maximize public dollars to their fullest potential. Fully utilizing all existing resources as well as employing new methods, such as peer-to-peer outreach, will help us dramatically reduce the number of homeless veterans in Massachusetts and take great strides toward ending veterans’ homelessness in the Commonwealth.”
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