Volunteers of America Northern New England welcomed U.S. Senator Susan Collins and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie to Cabin in the Woods. President and CEO of Volunteers of America Northern New England, Rich Hooks Wayman, provided an update on how the project has been received in the community as well as the status of the veterans living there. “Volunteers of America is proud of our work with service men and women at Cabin in the Woods. We were delighted to host Senator Susan Collins and Secretary Wilkie this week and remain humbled and appreciative for their close partnership and unwavering support for veterans struggling with homelessness and deep poverty.” Mr. Hooks Wayman added, “We look forward to working with the MaineHousing, the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and HUD to expand housing opportunities for veterans and ensure that future generations never hear the term ‘homeless veterans’ again.”
After his visit, Secretary Wilkie commended Volunteers of America Northern New England on their work within the community. “Our visit to Cabin in the Woods capped a productive day meeting with community and state leaders and discussing important matters for Maine’s veterans,” said Secretary Wilkie. “The work done here illustrates that we work most effectively in partnership – community, state and federal organizations collaborating to help veterans get the services they have earned.”
Senator Collins, who has championed policies to strengthen our nation’s commitment to members of our military, veterans, and their families, including fighting to ensure continued funding for veterans homelessness programs said, “When the men and women who defend our nation return home, we have an obligation to ensure that in the land of the free, there will always be a home for the brave. That is why reducing homelessness among veterans is one of my highest priorities.” Senator Collins continued, “I commend Volunteers of America Northern New England, for leading the Cabin in the Woods project, which is truly transforming lives. I was delighted to join Secretary Wilkie to see firsthand how their exceptional work is helping veterans experiencing homelessness get back on their feet, rebuild their families, and achieve stability and independence.”
Earlier this year, Congress passed and the President signed into law legislation Senator Collins co-authored that provides $40 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers to reduce veterans’ homelessness. Since the program was first established in 2008, Maine has received 238 vouchers to support homeless veterans. Following Senator Collins’ efforts, homelessness among veterans has declined 49 percent since 2008.