USA — Labor Department Awards $5 Million to Aid Homeless Veterans

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2010 — The Labor Depart­ment is award­ing more than $5 mil­lion in grants to help home­less female vet­er­ans and vet­er­ans with fam­i­lies find jobs and work toward a “bright future,” the sec­re­tary of labor announced today.

“Mil­lions of hard-work­ing, respon­si­ble fam­i­lies are at risk of los­ing their homes as a result of job loss­es, reduc­tions in work­ing hours and low­er wages,” Labor Sec­re­tary Hil­da L. Solis said dur­ing a tele­con­fer­ence. “And prob­a­bly no oth­er seg­ment of our pop­u­la­tion is more vul­ner­a­ble to home­less­ness than our vet­er­ans, and more recent­ly and impor­tant­ly, female vet­er­ans.”

The Labor Depart­ment will dis­trib­ute the mon­ey – fund­ed through the department’s Home­less Vet­er­ans Rein­te­gra­tion Pro­gram — to 26 orga­ni­za­tions in 14 states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia to boost job place­ment ser­vices, job train­ing and coun­sel­ing, and sup­port­ive ser­vices such as lit­er­a­cy and skills train­ing, Solis explained.

“These grants will help vet­er­ans access the resources they need to find good jobs and build a bright future for them­selves and their fam­i­lies,” Solis said.

Accord­ing to the Vet­er­ans Affairs Depart­ment, on any giv­en night there are about 107,000 home­less vet­er­ans, of whom 5,000 are esti­mat­ed to be home­less female vet­er­ans and about 1,300 are home­less vet­er­ans with fam­i­lies, she said.

Solis said she feels strong­ly about help­ing female vet­er­ans, par­tic­u­lar­ly those return­ing from com­bat. “We know many of them have been exposed to trau­ma [or] post-trau­mat­ic stress,” she said. “Some have expe­ri­enced sex­u­al assault.”

Some female vet­er­ans may have enlist­ed right out of high school and, as a result, are lack­ing for­mal train­ing in the work force, she said. Solis also point­ed out the impor­tance of afford­able hous­ing and pro­vid­ing female vet­er­ans with the treat­ment and sup­port they need.

“We’re hop­ing that our pro­grams, through these efforts, will help to pro­vide at least a good effort to begin to address this very impor­tant issue,” she said.

Along with the grants, the Labor Depart­ment also is involved in a num­ber of oth­er efforts that will increase job oppor­tu­ni­ties and sup­port for home­less vet­er­ans, Solis said, espe­cial­ly for vet­er­ans return­ing from active-duty ser­vice and vet­er­ans with dis­abil­i­ties or in per­ma­nent sup­port­ive hous­ing.

Solis said she’s request­ed more than $35 mil­lion in the fis­cal 2010 bud­get to help vet­er­ans and $41.3 mil­lion for 2011.

“On the bat­tle­fields of war, our vet­er­ans pledge to leave no one behind,” she said. “Today we’re doing our part to make sure that our vet­er­ans come home — that we do not leave them behind.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)