Durbin Meets with Veterans, Highlights Federal Funding to Prevent Homelessness
GRANITE CITY - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today visited Chestnut Health Systems to meet with veterans and highlight new federal funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program to prevent homelessness. Earlier this fall, Durbin announced more than $9.5 million to prevent homelessness among Illinois veterans and their families, which included $510,116 for Chestnut.
“Too often, our nation’s veterans find themselves facing financial difficulties and the prospect of homelessness. This VA funding will help ensure that organizations like Chestnut Health Systems have the necessary resources to help veteran families transition to permanent housing,” Durbin said. “I commend the VA’s efforts to end veteran homelessness, and I am proud to continue working alongside the department to keep our promise to America’s veterans.”
While veteran homelessness has dropped nearly 50 percent since 2010, more than 40,000 veterans still experience homelessness on any given night, including 1,200 in Illinois. Many veterans are considered at risk of homelessness because of poverty, lack of a support network or employment, substance abuse, or because they suffer from mental health issues.
Chestnut is a private, non-profit charitable organization with locations in Belleville, Granite City, Edwardsville, and Maryville. This is the fourth year Chestnut has received VA funds, and it will use them to employ six full-time staff members to work with veterans to help them with employment, financial planning, access to transportation, housing counseling, and offer referrals to medical, legal, and other services. About $200,000 from the grant is also set aside to help veterans pay rent and utilities. As a VA SSVF provider, Chestnut expects to serve about 100 people this year with this funding.
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