Maine Community Foundation Provides Grant to Improve the Lives of Maine Homeless Veterans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact
Glenn Michaels, Volunteers of America Northern New England
Office: (207) 373-1140 ext. 216
glenn.michaels@voanne.org

YORK, ME (August 30, 2011) -- Maine Community Foundation awarded a grant of $2,500 to help Volunteers of America Northern New England begin an outreach program to support homeless Maine veterans in York County. Volunteers of America’s Huot House in Saco, Maine provides a safe home and customized services to help 10 homeless Maine Veterans make it “All the Way Home™”.  In Biddeford, we also provide a group home environment that supports veterans in locating, securing and maintaining work.  Both programs support moving the participants through a continuum of services until they can effectively navigate living in the community on their own.

The Maine Community Foundations York County Fund was established in 2007. In 2008, the York County Committee began making grants from the fund through the Community Building Grant Program. The Community Building Grant Program seeks to support organizations and programs that recognize and build on a community’s strengths and assets. The Maine Community Foundation manages the York County Fund, and local leaders, knowledgeable about their communities, help review grant applications.

The grant will help Volunteers of America provide outreach into communities, hospitals and shelters in York County to identify and connect with some of the more than 900 homeless veterans in Maine. An important goal of the program is to help these homeless veterans with the necessary assistance to move them off the streets and into a suitable place to live.

“Getting homeless veterans off the streets is often one of the most difficult aspects of beginning their transition out of homelessness,” Said June Koegel, President and CEO of Volunteers of America. “This grant will allow us to be proactive in helping veterans in York County with this transition and will have a significant and lasting impact on their health and quality of life. The funds provided by this Maine Community Foundation will enable us to build the connections, identify and engage the veterans and collect the data necessary to bring in additional funding from the national and state veterans organizations,” Koegel added.
 
According to the local VA Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups (CHALENG) report: 82% of these individuals have serious psychiatric diagnoses; 59% of these individuals abuse substances; 49% have been hospitalized for psychiatric or substance abuse reasons, and; 36% have medical problems.

A primary aspect of the outreach program will be collecting data through personal interviews with veterans. This will help supplement the small amount of consistent data that is available through various veterans’ organizations and play an important role to ensure the needs of our veterans are both understood and effectively addressed.

Volunteers of America Northern New England is a national, non-profit, spiritually based organization providing local human service programs and opportunities for individual and community involvement. Volunteers of America is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of affordable housing for low-income seniors, families and persons with disabilities. Additional information is available on our website at www.voanne.org.

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