The Salvation Army, in partnership with the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People Inc., is aiming to house at least 200 veterans through 2012, thanks to a first-of-its-kind grant program from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Supportive Services for Veteran Families program will be carried out by Salvation Army caseworkers in six cities Minot, Devils Lake, Bismarck, Dickinson, Fargo and Grand Forks and will cover all of North Dakota's 53 counties.
The caseworkers will help veterans and veterans' families secure permanent housing through one-on-one case management, financial assistance, help apply for VA benefits, referrals to other community resources and more.
Among other criteria, eligible veterans and veteran families must be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and they must earn 50 percent or less of their community's median income.
Veterans represent about 22 percent of North Dakota's homeless population.
"Even more so than financial assistance, this program emphasizes outreach to help veterans overcome barriers and achieve housing stability," said project coordinator Angela Abrams, who will lead the statewide program from The Salvation Army's office in Bismarck. "This project reflects the shared priorities and commitment of the VA, North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People Inc. and The Salvation Army to prevent and end homelessness among our veterans."
Supportive Services for Veteran Families is an entirely new grant program from the VA, which awarded 85 such grants nationwide.
"Our veterans have earned these benefits," said Michael Carbone, executive director of the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People Inc. "We are proud to partner with The Salvation Army to deliver these benefits to the men, women and their families who have served our country so well."
For more information about the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, call Susan Ewert, Minot case manager for the veterans program at the Minot Salvation Army at 838-8925. Those in other areas can contact their local Salvation Army.