Officials announced details today for a new outreach effort to help military veterans across western Massachusetts.
The first-ever Western Massachusetts Veterans Expo will be held Thursday, Oct.9 in the MassMutual Convention Center in downtown Springfield. 180 agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses and educational institutions will be present at the expo, which will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
A program at the University of Vermont that helps homeless veterans and their families is slated to receive a federal grant of nearly $1.7 million.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, announced the grant last week, saying it is part of $300 million in funding to help community agencies that provide aid to veterans.
Nationwide, homelessness among veterans declined 24 percent from 2010 to 2013. Sanders says the grants will help roughly 115,000 veterans who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
Memorial Day observances are under way in western Massachusetts,where the holiday weekend will feature parades and solemn ceremonies.
The city of Springfield commemorated Memorial Day Friday afternoon with an annual ceremony under an overcast sky. After short speeches on the steps of city hall, a group of elected officials and military veterans placed wreaths at the five war memorials across the street in Court Square. The procession was led by JROTC color guards from each of the city’s four high schools.
From left to right: Pittsfield Police Chief Mike Wynn, Soldier On CEO Jack Downing, Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi, executive director of Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority Brad Gordon and Jay Sacchetti of ServiceNet met at City Hall to announce the funding Friday.
A Massachusetts-based veterans outreach organization and a Springfield anti-poverty agency have been awarded a federal grant for a partnership to help homeless veterans in western Massachusetts.
Soldier On and Springfield Partners for Community Action will use $757,000 to provide help to veterans and their families who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal, who announced the federal grant in Springfield on Monday, said the objective is to help people who have served their country get back on their feet.
ELMSFORD – The Department of Veterans Affairs will spend $2.4 million to prevent at-risk Hudson Valley veterans from becoming homeless. A $1.89 allocation will go to the Westchester Community Opportunity Program to serve 450 families and a $500,000 investment will be used by Hudson River Housing to serve 250 families through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program.
Yesterday, Lieutenant Gov. Timothy Murray announced that from January 2010 to January 2012, Massachusetts saw a drop in its homeless rate among veterans by 26%. That national rate of decline for the same period was 17%.
The Department of Veterans Affairs says it is making progress in reducing the number of homeless veterans in the country. But the critical need was evident at an event Friday in Springfield Massachusetts. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
Hundreds of veterans looking for help filed into a church social hall for an opportunity to speak with representatives from more than 60 agencies and programs, including health care providers, counseling services, and housing specialists. There were free meals and each could leave with a bag of clothes.