U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, has announced that three New Mexico nonprofit organizations will receive a combined $1.9 million in grant funding to provide services to veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Goodwill Industries of New Mexico will receive $1,085,481 to serve veterans in 26 counties throughout the state, including the tribal lands of Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Zia, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Santo Domingo, Navajo, Zuni, Ute, and Hopi tribes. Goodwill originally served veterans in seven counties and more than 600 households in the Albuquerque area through its past grant funding, but will now expand its services to veterans in 26 counties, a full list of which is below.
New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers will receive $779,242 to serve approximately 583 veteran households in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, Valencia, McKinley, San Juan, Santa Fe, and Guadalupe counties.
Mesilla Valley Community of Hope will receive $114,369 to serve approximately 100 veteran households in Doña Ana County and the City of Las Cruces.
“Homelessness among veterans is a serious problem that we must solve, and I am pleased to see funding go to these great partners on the ground who are working to help our veterans throughout our state,” Udall said. “It’s especially important to ensure services are in place as more of our military men and women come home to New Mexico from serving overseas, and I won’t stop pushing to ensure the federal government is doing everything it can to help provide access to housing, employment and other essential services in their communities after defending our country around the world.”
Each of the three organizations provides a range of services to promote housing stability and plays a key role in connecting veterans and their family members to VA services. This can include temporary financial assistance, including time-limited payments for rent, utilities, moving expenses, security and utility deposits, transportation, child care and emergency supplies. They also provide a link to needed healthcare services, along with financial planning, job development, child care, transportation, legal services and mental health care.
The grants are being made available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program. Under the program, the VA awards grants to private nonprofit organizations that can provide supportive services to very low-income veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing. This is the third year SSVF grants have helped veterans and their families find or remain in their homes. According to the VA, nearly 90 percent of the veterans who completed the program in 2012 transitioned to permanent housing. The funding will be available starting in fiscal year 2014.
Udall has long championed veterans’ issues and worked to ensure they receive the services they have earned. In particular, he has pushed to address the VA claims processing backlog, to improve and present a plan for increasing outreach to veterans and their families affected by open-air burn pits, and for the VA to conduct an assessment of all of its community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) in rural and highly rural areas in order to better serve veterans in rural communities. Click here for a list of his work in the most recent Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill, which passed the full Appropriations Committee in June.
The 26 counties where Goodwill Industries of New Mexico will provide services:
- San Juan
- Los Alamos
- Rio Arriba
- Santa Fe
- San Miguel
- De Baca