MACHIAS, Maine – Federal grants totaling nearly $4 million have been awarded to three organizations to help combat homelessness among veterans in Maine.
A $290,000 grant to the Washington Hancock Community Agency marks the third year the agency has received funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, said Jennifer Trowbridge, housing and veterans services director for the Washington Hancock Community Agency.
Grants aimed at ending veteran homelessness also were awarded to the Portland-based social services provider Preble Street in the amount of $1,683,966 and Veterans Inc., which serves veterans in Maine and throughout New England, in the amount of $2 million as part of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, according to a news release issued Monday by U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin.
Over the past two years, the Washington Hancock Community Agency has used the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant funds to help about 140 veterans and their families avoid homelessness, Trowbridge said. In the coming year, the agency expects to help another 100 veterans who are either homeless or in danger of becoming homeless in Washington, Hancock and Aroostook counties, she said.
Up to half of the funding can be used for temporary financial assistance such as rent, security deposits or moving expenses, she said.
“How much per household depends on that household’s situation,” Trowbridge said. “Sometimes they need $200. Sometimes they need $1,000.”
The program works by first providing whatever immediate assistance is needed to get the client housing. After that, the agency works with the client on budgeting, finding employment and getting other needed services such as medical assistance through the Veterans Administration.
“The end goal is they are stably housed through a housing plan,” Trowbridge said.
In announcing the grants, Poliquin said, “Our Veterans answered the ultimate call of duty to protect our freedoms and special way of life. This [funding] will help organizations, such as Preble Street, Washington Hancock Community Agency and Veterans Inc., ensure our veterans and their families receive the services and resources they were promised, earned and deserve.”