WASHINGTON — Operation Stand Down Rhode Island will receive more than $1.3 million from two separate federal grants to assist at-risk and homeless veterans in finding housing, job training and supportive services, Rhode Island’s congressional delegation announced Thursday.
Veterans Inc. will also receive $2 million to support veterans in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.
Operation Stand Down Rhode Island was awarded a $300,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, according to a release.
Additionally, the organization will receive $1,007,000 under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program “to serve approximately 350 participant households in Rhode Island, southern Massachusetts and southeastern Connecticut communities bordering Westerly,” the release reported. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs oversees the Supportive Services for Veterans program.
“The funds come at a critical time. Returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and those confronted with the downsizing of the military, face record high unemployment and the number of Rhode Island veterans experiencing homelessness increased at an alarming rate last year,” Erik B. Wallin, executive director of Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, said in prepared remarks.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that more than 62,000 veterans are homeless on any given night and that 13 percent of homeless Americans are veterans, Rep. James R. Langevin said in a release.
“Operation Stand Down puts a roof over our veterans’ heads, but also addresses the long-term challenges that place returning service members at risk of becoming homeless. Through social service, medical and mental health interventions, they get veterans back on their feet, living up to their mission of ‘a hand up, not a handout,’” said Langevin.
“We are appreciative of the support our federal delegation provided us to ensure Rhode Island has the resources it needs to combat both homelessness and unemployment amongst our veterans,” said Wallin.