Veterans in five counties in southern Arkansas are now eligible for assistance from Volunteers of America of North Louisiana, which serves veterans who are homeless or facing homelessness.

Since 2011 Volunteers of America has operated the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program for North Louisiana, and it has received regular calls from Southern Arkansas. Now those veterans in need will have a resource.

These counties (Columbia, Lafayette, Little River, Miller and Sevier) are home to more than 100,000 veterans, the vast majority of whom live in rural areas.

SSVF is open to very low-income veterans and those with families who are in permanent housing or have just left permanent housing. Volunteers of America will provide counseling and temporary financial assistance in cases of loss or reduction of income, disability, medical crises or other circumstances that could lead to homelessness without preventative measures.

All participants will work individually with staff to return to independence.

Staff will make regular visits to Texarkana, but will go to the veterans whenever and wherever help is needed.

The grant was first awarded to Volunteers of America in October 2011. In the year ending July 15, 2013, Volunteers of America North Louisiana served 266 veterans and their families in the Shreveport and Alexandria areas. Of those 81 percent found permanent housing. Veterans also received assistance with utilities, transportation, child care, and other needs.

For the program year ending in September 2014, the program’s goal is to serve 190 veterans, but they expect to far exceed that number.

The local grant is part of a $2 million award given to Volunteers of America of Greater New Orleans, which also includes Baton Rouge. SSVF is part of an ongoing effort by the Veterans Administration to work with nonprofit organizations to address the crisis of homeless veterans.

To apply for assistance, the veteran should contact Volunteers of America North Louisiana, 520 Olive St., Shreveport La. 71104. They can call 1-800-222-3196 or email vets@voanorthla.org.

 

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