August 17, 2022 – Twelve nonprofits have been awarded grants from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to surge resources and services for homeless and at-risk Florida veterans. VA Secretary Denis McDonough announced the Department awarded a total of $418 million to fund 258 nonprofits nationwide. In Florida, home to 1.5 million of America’s veterans, VA’s SSVF grants will fund services for thousands of homeless and at-risk low income veterans over the coming year.
“Nobody should be homeless in the country they fought to defend — nobody,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said as he announced the awards this month. “These grant funds will help our partner organizations across the country provide at-risk Veterans with the resources they need to stay in their homes, where they belong, or find a new home.”
Florida Nonprofits Delivering SSVF Housing Assistance
The 12 nonprofits awarded funding to provide SSVF services to Florida veterans are:
- Advocate Program: Serving Florida veterans in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties
- Jewish Family & Childrens Service Of The Suncoast: Serving Florida veterans in Sarasota, Bradenton/Manatee, Sarasota, Hendry, Hardee, Highlands, Punta Gorda/Charlotte County, Ft Myers, Cape Coral/Lee County, and Naples/Collier counties.
- Faith, Hope, Love, Charity: Serving Florida veterans in West Palm Beach/Palm Beach County.
- Big Bend Homeless Coalition: Serving Florida veterans in Tallahassee/Leon County.
- United Way of Broward County: Serving Florida veterans in Ft Lauderdale/Broward County.
- Meridian Behavioral Healthcare: Serving Florida veterans in Gainesville/Alachua, Putnam, Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette, and Suwannee counties.
- Treasure Coast Homeless Services Council: Serving Florida veterans in Fort Pierce/St. Lucie, Indian River, Martin counties.
- Homeless Services Network of Central Florida: Serving Florida veterans in Orlando/Orange, Osceola, Seminole counties
- Volunteers of America of Florida: Serving Florida veterans in Gainesville/Alachua, Putnam, Palm Bay, Melbourne/Brevard, Ocala/Marion, Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette, and Suwannee counties.
- Tampa Crossroads: Serving Florida veterans in Tampa/Hillsborough County
- Purpose Built Families Foundation (Operation Sacred Trust): Serving Florida veterans in Miami-Dade County and Ft Lauderdale/Broward counties.
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul South Pinellas: Serving Florida veterans in Sarasota, Bradenton/Manatee, Sarasota, Tampa/Hillsborough, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo/Pinellas, Lakeland, Winterhaven/Polk, Hendry, Hardee, Highlands, Pasco County, Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Sumter, Punta Gorda/Charlotte, Ft Myers, Cape Coral/Lee and Naples/Collier counties.
Funding for Human and Financial Resources
VA has provided SSVF grants to Florida nonprofits since 2011. SSVF grants support outreach, case management, emergency housing and supplies, transportation, childcare, and temporary financial assistance for housing related costs such as utility payments and deposits, security deposits, and limited rental payments. In addition to traditional SSVF funding, this year VA awarded more than $5 million in extraordinary grants to help Florida SSVF programs expand health care navigation and legal services.
Supported by Florida’s Veteran Leadership
Major General James “Hammer” Hartsell, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, advocated for expanded VA funding after meeting with Purpose Built Families Foundation’s Operation Sacred Trust SSVF team in Fort Lauderdale earlier this year.
“I have conversed with veterans at Operation Sacred Trust and witnessed PBFF’s teams’ consistent and comprehensive support to improve the quality of life for veterans by ensuring they receive the support they need to lead fulfilling and productive lives,” General Hartsell wrote after the visit. General Hartsell commended the program for its impact ending veteran homelessness and preventing suicide, which he said provides important support for Florida Governor’s Challenge Initiatives.
Hope for a Better Future
U.S. Army Veteran Kevin Williams directs Purpose Built Families Operation Sacred Trust Veteran benefits team. Williams said VA’s SSVF grants and implementation of the recently enacted PACT Act offers hope that many Florida veterans will have a better future.
Thousands Remain Homeless
There are around 19 million U.S. veterans, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. General Hartsell said Florida is home to 1.5 million veterans and their families. Despite SSVF’s success ending homelessness for tens of thousands of veterans over the past decade, on any given night, thousands of veterans are still living on the streets, in their vehicles, and in shelters throughout the United States.
Critical to Getting Veterans into Affordable, Sustainable Housing
The director of Carrfour Supportive Housing, Florida’s largest nonprofit affordable housing developer and the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans 2022 Outstanding Partnership of the Year Award Recipient, said VA’s public-private partnerships are critical to getting veterans off the streets, out of shelters, and into housing they can afford and sustain.
“Helping Florida veterans enjoy the future they’ve earned requires actual boots on the ground in every community embracing veterans with the respect, honor, care, and compassion they’ve earned,” said Carrfour CEO Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg. “VA funding fuels those collaborations that offer the best chance of success,” she said.