Will Serve Veterans & Their Families in Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex Counties Who Are at Risk of Homelessness
Washington, Jul 17 – A $1 million federal grant has been awarded to a non-profit organization to assist low income veterans in Central New Jersey who are at risk of losing their homes, Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) announced today.
“This funding will provide much needed housing assistance and stability to veterans in Central New Jersey so that they can remain in their homes even when times are difficult,” said Smith, who worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in support of the grant application.
The grant was awarded this morning to Soldier On, a leader for community-based homeless and at-risk veterans’ housing and services. Soldier On has 15 years of experience developing transitional and permanent housing and successfully creating innovative homeownership opportunities in underserved areas—addressing both the urban and rural needs of local communities. The funding will be provided by through the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant program.
“Unfortunately, right now, the concentration of veterans and their families in Central New Jersey are without access to prevention and rapid re-housing resources,” said Smith. “With the VA’s green light, Soldier On will now be able to provide very specialized services to address the needs of a very specific population in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington Counties thereby enabling a federal-private partnership that will truly help our veterans.”
The SSVF grants ensure veterans and their families can obtain the needed assistance with the economic, financial and employment related issues that contribute to being at risk for homelessness.
The President and CEO of Soldier On, Jack Downing, stated: “This grant is a result of the tremendous concern for veterans in the Fort Monmouth/Ocean County area displayed by Lillian Burry, Monmouth County Freeholder, Congressman Chris Smith and the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA). Soldier On will now establish a service program for veterans at risk of going homeless and veterans who are underserved. We look forward to building relationships with Veterans Service Officers in all four counties and helping to support the existing agencies that provide services to our veterans.”
“I began working with Soldier On last year to help advance another proposal for a housing complex on the former Fort Monmouth property. Throughout this process, I have been impressed by the dedication and commitment I have witnessed by their team and the innovative solution they develop and implement,” said Smith, who earlier this year toured the Oceanport property on which Soldier On intends to bid with FMERA and Soldier On officials. “Bringing Soldier On to the former Army property is expected to be a win-win situation for veterans and the local community. Reusing the property for a residential program that helps veterans integrate back into a community enhances the value and attracts additional interest in the area.”
The closed post is expected to house a number of other tenets for which Smith has advocated, including Commvault and the VA Technical Acquisition Center, as well as health and education initiatives.
Smith is the author of the first comprehensive law (Public Law 107-95) to address chronic homelessness among our nation’s veterans. PL 107-95 authorized $1 billion to aid homeless veterans and prevent veterans from becoming homeless.
“Better prevention efforts are necessary to break the cycle of homelessness among the men and women who have transitioned back to civilian life—and we are now able to provide these critical prevention services,” Smith said.