Gus Bilirakis Secures Funds to Help Homeless Veterans in Florida and Across the Nation

Bilirakis wants funds to help homeless vets

By KEVIN DERBY Sunshine State News 

From his perch as vice chairman of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., helped ensure $200 million will be used to help homeless veterans.

Bilirakis noted last week that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will have $200 million to fund 13,000 transitonal housing beds within as part of the department’s Grant and Per Diem program.

“This program is designed to help end veteran homelessness by providing shelter and supportive services to improve income levels, increase skill levels and achieve residential stability,” the congressman’s office noted on Thursday night. “According to the VA, ‘transition in place. programs provide support services in the veteran’s living unit, phasing out over time, as the Veteran adjusts to permanent housing.”

VA Sec.  David Wilkie thanked the funding‘s supporters on Capitol Hill.

“We appreciate the U.S. Congress providing this funding because every homeless veteran deserves the opportunity to move from living on the streets to a safe and supportive environment,” Wilkie said.

Bilirakis was able to direct more than $2.1 million to help homeless veterans in his area with Catholic Charities in Pinellas County getting $924,960 for their efforts and Pinellas Ex-Offender Re-entry Coalition getting $1.25 million for their work.

“There is absolutely no reason that even one of our nation’s heroes should experience homelessness after bravely answering the call to serve our country,” Bilirakis said. “We owe each of them more than that.  The contributing factors that lead to homelessness vary by individual.  For some, homelessness is the result of a situational problem, such as the loss of a job, divorce or an emergency incident.  They may need a little extra boost, including help with security deposits and utilities.  Once stabilized, these individuals are often able to live independently.

“For others, the issue is more complex,” Bilirakis continued. “There may be mental health, medical and/or substance abuse issues involved, which may take longer to resolve and require greater support in order to ensure that the individual experiences long-term success.   As such, the solution lies in providing varied levels of support in order to assist  with people’s individual needs. This program offers that.  These local agencies have worked to reduce homelessness in our community for many years, and I look forward to them making further progress. I will continue to support programs that aim to end veteran homelessness until we reach our goal of zero homeless vets.”

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