U.S. Rep. Steve Israel announces $7.8M in grants to fight veteran homelessness

U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) announced Thursday that more than $7.8 million in federal grants would be allocated to four organizations located throughout New York’s 3rd Congressional District to improve housing programs for homeless veterans and their families.

“It is simply unacceptable that thousands of our nation’s veterans, who have sacrificed so much to defend our country, are forced to sleep on the streets at night,” Israel said in a statement. “This federal funding will help to prevent veteran homelessness from occurring, and make sure our local organizations have the resources they need to house each and every homeless veteran.”

The locations include:

• UnderServed, Inc., which serves Manhattan, Richmond, Kings, Queens, Bronx, Nassau and Suffolk counties, will receive $3,134,348.

• Black Veterans for Social Justice Inc., which serves Manhattan, Richmond Kings, Queens, Bronx, Nassau and Suffolk counties, will receive $1,949,689.92.

• The Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc. will receive $1,297,719.

• The Greater New York chapter of Volunteers of America, Inc., which serves Bronx, Kings, Manhattan, Nassau, Queens and Richmond counties, will receive $1,480,184.55. 

According to a 2014 report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, New York has the fourth largest (2,500) number of homeless veterans in the country, though the national rate of veteran homelessness has dropped 10 percent, to 49,933 each night, since 2013.

Israel in June introduced the Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund Act of 2015, which would offer federal taxpayers the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution toward organizations that provide housing to homeless veterans. 

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