Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Nita Lowey (NY-17) and Eliot Engel (NY-16) announced July 15 a $2.4 million investment from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to prevent at-risk veterans from becoming homeless and rapidly re-housing those who have recently fallen into homelessness throughout the Hudson Valley.

A $1.89 million investment in the Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WestCOP) will serve 450 families and a $500,000 investment in the Hudson River Housing program will serve 250 families through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program, which provides a range of services that promote housing stability and play a key role in connecting Veterans and family members to VA services such as mental health care and other benefits.

“It is both tragic and shameful that tens of thousands of veterans are homeless on any given night – this investment is a step in the right direction for the veterans in our community who deserve better from the country that they fought so hard to defend,” said Rep. Maloney.

“I am glad to hear that the federal government is working together with our local groups to assist our homeless and at-risk veterans and their families,” said John Hussey, colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and chair of Rep. Maloney’s Veterans Advisory Board. “It is a step in the right direction for all our American heroes, particularly those who have served multiple combat tours since 9/11, and those who have served in combat to preserve the freedoms we as a nation so cherish.”

“The sad reality is that homelessness plagues far too many of our nation’s veterans and their families,” said Congresswoman Lowey.

Rep. Engel said, “The plight of our homeless veterans is a national tragedy. These men and women have sacrificed for our country and every night more than 60,000 veterans are homeless in the United States. These grants are important in our correcting this unconscionable situation.”

“We at WestCOP are excited to receive this opportunity to expand our existing services to Veterans and their families. Since 2011, we have worked throughout seven counties of the Hudson Valley to end homelessness for veterans. Our agency is dedicated to ‘Helping People & Changing Lives’ and we will pursue doing just that with 450 veterans and their families in the 2013 – 2014 program cycle,” said Kiron Dawkins, Regional Director of WestCOP.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 62,619 veterans are homeless on any given night in the United States. Although 7 percent of the general population can claim veteran status, veterans make up nearly 13 percent of the homeless adult population.

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