Effort to prevent veteran homelessness
Congressman Brian Higgins announced The Veterans One-stop Center of WNY is the recipient of a Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant totaling $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to continue the end of veteran homelessness in Western New York. The Veterans One-stop Center will implement SSVF throughout Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
This funding will allow the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY to provide housing stability for veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness in Western New York. Through referrals and direct outreach, the Veterans One-stop Center will house veterans and their families who are homeless, while keeping others from slipping into homelessness. The program provides rapid supportive services that promote housing stability and sustainable, permanent housing.
Higgins said, “The Veterans One-stop Center of WNY, working with other critical community partners, has demonstrated both tireless dedication and great success in efforts to connect our veterans with the services they need and deserve. The men and women who signed up to keep this nation safe must never be without a safe place to live. We are proud of the work addressing homelessness that has been done in this community. This federal grant for the Veteran One-stop Center of WNY will allow us to preserve this commitment to our veterans.”
“Our partnership with the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY will continue the progress made for the ending of veteran homelessness in Western New York,” stated Kristen Weese, program director of VA Health Care for Homeless Veterans. “Resources to help veterans with housing improve their overall quality of life. These resources, along with all the community partnerships in Western New York, contribute to the successes of ending and maintaining veteran homelessness.”
Dale Zuchlewski, executive director of the Homeless Alliance of WNY, said, “SSVF funds are a key tool in our efforts to assist homeless and at-risk veterans. Without these funds, our community would see an increase in veteran homeless; and the Veterans One-stop is the perfect place to administer these funds, because of the wrap-around services they provide.”
“Veteran homelessness is a serious issue, and the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY works tirelessly to prevent it. Being awarded the SSVF funding from the VA to continue our fight against homelessness among veterans in WNY is a testament of our commitment to maintaining the end of veteran homelessness in Western New York. They served us and now it’s our turn to ensure that their needs are being met,” said Chuck Marra, president and CEO of the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY.
In 2016, Higgins joined community partners and the mayors of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Lockport and Tonawanda to announce an end to veteran homelessness in Western New York. The four cities were recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness for achieving significant federal benchmarks that resulted in an effective system to quickly identify homeless veterans and provide immediate shelter to anyone experiencing unsheltered homelessness who wants it.
This federal grant will support the Veteran One-Stop Center’s efforts to main the goal of functional zero veteran homelessness across the five Western New York counties.
Alliance to End Homelessness VP Steve Berg said, “Since Congress started funding the programs, 100,000 veterans and their family members have gone from homelessness to housing through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), and 300,000 through Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF rapid re-housing).”
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness declined by 5% between 2017-18 and dropped by 48% since 2009.
About Veterans One-stop Center of WNY
The Veterans One-stop Center of WNY unites and empowers veterans, service members and their families to transition from military to civilian life by providing free services and resources such as employment, financial counseling, legal, housing and peer support. For more information, visit www.vocwny.org.
About Homeless Alliance of WNY
The Homeless Alliance of Western New York is the lead agency for both the Continuum of Care (CoC) and the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties. Its work fosters collaboration in the community to implement best-practice models ensuring everyone has a home.