Pingree Announces $1.7 M for ME Homeless Vets Through Preble Street Program

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,465)

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said this morning that the Preble Street Resource Center will get nearly $1.7 million in federal funding to help homeless veterans and veterans at risk of becoming homeless in a press release issued this afternoon by her office.

“The problem of homeless veterans is a national shame,” Pingree said.  “These men andwomen have served our country, they have risked their lives and for them to end up living on the street is unacceptable.  Preble Street has done great work in helping ve  terans find housing and in helping those that are at risk of being homeless.  This federal funding is going to go a long way toward helping veterans and their families keep a roof over their heads.”

The funding, from the Deparatment of Veterans Affairs (VA), is part of the Supporting Services for Veteran Families Program.  Last year, nearly 90% of the veterans who participated in the program nationally transitioned to permanent housing.

Preble Street will use funding to hire case workers and housingcounselors to hep veterans find jobs, find housing and get back on their feet.

Mark Swann, Executive Director of Preble Street, said it’s the biggest grant the organization has ever gotten.

“This is going to make a huge difference in the work we are doing with veterans.  We’ve been doing this work in southern Maine, but this grant means we are going to be able to expand to a statewide presence by adding offices in Lewiston and Bangor so we can reach the whole state,” Swann said.

Pingree  has pushed the VA to provide better services for homeless veterans.  For example, she has requested that the VA ask all veterans applying for benefits if they are homeless to make it easier to identify those who need services and expedite their benefits claim.