Soldier On, the organization that serves homeless veterans with programs in Leeds and Pittsfield, Mass., and Eastern New York, has been awarded a $300,000 grant to provide veterans with employment training.
The grant, from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) is among 64 grants totaling more than $15 million that are aimed at providing approximately 8,600 homeless veterans nationwide with job training to help them succeed in civilian careers. The Soldier On grant targets employment training for 110 homeless veterans. The grants were announced June 19 by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, and go into effect July 1.
“Today, the Department of Labor is taking an important step to help homeless veterans reintegrate into the American labor force,” said Secretary Solis.
Under the HVRP grants, homeless veterans may receive occupational, classroom and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance, including follow-up services. HVRP is recognized as an efficient and effective program, and is the only federal program that focuses exclusively on ensuring the employment of veterans who are homeless.
Grantees of this program coordinate their efforts with various local, state and federal social service providers to maximize the assistance available for homeless veterans.
The $300,000 grant to Soldier On will be used to place homeless veterans into employment and training programs in 18 counties in Eastern New York. This will continue a program that began in November when Soldier On was awarded a $1 million Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help at-risk veterans and their families avoid falling into homelessness in the 18 New York counties. To date, this program has prevented 165 veterans from becoming homeless, has housed 154 previously homeless veterans and has served a total of 484 veterans, spouses and children.
The 18 counties include Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren and Washington.
John F. Downing, President and CEO of Soldier On, praised federal and local officials for their efforts to help secure the grant.
“Massachusetts Congressmen Richard Neal and John Olver, New York Congressmen Paul Tonko and Chris Gibson and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy once again showed their commitment to serving veterans by not only supporting us in applying for this grant, but by making the commitment to actualize these grants in the lives of the veterans we mutually serve,” Downing said.
Soldier On provides safe affordable housing to homeless veterans, including permanent limited-equity ownership units at the Gordon Mansfield Veterans Community in Pittsfield. The Mansfield Community serves as a national model as Soldier On actively seeks to extend its veterans programs to communities throughout the United States.