Program to help low-income vet families

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Program to help low-income vet families

by: . | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: November 03, 2014

Low-income veterans with families may soon find much-needed financial assistance in areas such as housing, child care and debt relief thanks to a new year-long program.

WestCare Pacific Islands (WestCare) recently obtained a $700,000 grant to help local veterans and their families via the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, according to the office of Guam Sen. Frank B. Aguon, Jr.

The program, which is expected to begin Dec. 1, will provide eligible veteran families with outreach, case management and help in obtaining Department of Veteran Affairs and other benefits in areas such as health care, daily living services, financial planning, transportation, legal services, child care and housing counseling, according to a Nov. 2 media release.

WestCare may also provide time-limited payments to third parties such as landlords, utility companies, moving companies, and licensed child care providers to help veteran families stay in or acquire permanent sustainable housing.

To qualify for the program, applicants must be a member of a "veteran family, "very low income" and "occupying permanent housing," the release said. WestCare plans to work with 150 veterans and their families for one year, after which the program may be renewed.

“I encourage WestCare to seek out our veterans who are houseless or are finding themselves ‘at risk’ of being houseless,” said Aguon, who wrote a letter in support of the grant, according to the release. “For whatever their reasons, it is our responsibility as a community to collectively provide assistance to these veterans and their families.”

“This SSVF program is designed to give our veterans a “hand-up,” he added.

High-risk factors for homelessness that the program aims to address include eviction within two weeks, discharge within two weeks from a medical institution, residency in housing that has been condemned, sudden and significant loss of income or increase in utility costs and housing costs that meet or exceed 50 percent of income, according to the release.

Homeless in past 12 months; heads of households under age 25 with children or pregnant, child welfare involvement, pending foreclosure on a home of housing and income below 30 percent of the area median income are some of the other at-risk factors the program is designed to tackle.

Other factors include recent traumatic life event, such as death of a spouse or primary care provider, or recent health crisis that prevents a household from meeting its financial responsibilities, credit problems or substantial medical debt.

For details on the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, visit: www.westcare.com/page/where-we-serve_PI

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