Services for the UnderServed Receives Grant from VA to Support Veterans
For Immediate Release:
October 31, 2022
Alexis Geslani, S:US Marketing and Communications Director
S:US will enhance housing navigation and Temporary Financial Assistance services for homeless veterans
New York, NY – The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has awarded a $2.5 million grant to Services for the UnderServed (S:US), a New York City nonprofit that works with more than 37,000 individuals and their families every year to create pathways to rich and productive lives by offering housing, employment, skills-building, treatment, and recovery services.
The VA selected S:US for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Housing Navigation services. This is a multi-year award to enhance housing navigation and Temporary Financial Assistance services for homeless veterans in the NYC VA medical centers’ HUD VASH programs. It also expands income eligibility for enrollments from a 50% area median income (AMI) limit to 80% AMI for the HUD VASH/SSVF co-enrolled households.
“Home is not just a building. Home is stability, safety, community, and a sense of belonging,” said Dr. Jorge R. Petit, President and CEO of Services for the UnderServed. “Helping New Yorkers obtain housing is part of our social justice mission to end homelessness and ensure access to affordable/supportive housing. We’re grateful to the Department of Veteran Affairs for enabling S:US to bring hope, possibility, and opportunity to veterans who have experienced homelessness. S:US creates opportunity for all.”
“Nobody should be homeless in the country they fought to defend — nobody,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “These grant funds will help our partner organizations across the country provide at-risk Veterans with the resources they need to stay in their homes, where they belong, or find a new home.”
New York City has had the highest number of homeless veterans in New York State and has reduced veteran homelessness by nearly 90% since 2011 (New York State Division of Veterans Services 2020 report). S:US partners with nearly 3,000 veterans and their families to prevent homelessness, receive rapid rehousing support, find employment opportunities, access resources, and stabilize their lives. S:US also provides behavioral health and other support services to help veterans plan for long-term stability.
In addition to serving veterans with the greatest barriers to independence, S:US serves the needs of veterans at the highest risk of suicide due to the effects of chronic homelessness and unemployment, untreated PTSD, disconnection from their families, and a variety of social supports. Learn more about how S:US works with veterans at sus.org/our-services/veterans.
S:US has successfully operated our SSVF program since 2011. S:US consistently serves more households than contracted and has been selected multiple times by the VA to serve as a “National Mentor Agency” to help start-up programs develop and implement best practices for Rapid Re-Housing and Homeless Prevention services for very low-income veteran families. The services are tailored utilizing a “Housing First” approach to assist eligible, homeless veteran households with identifying and transitioning into permanent housing. S:US’ status as a “Priority 1” grantee in both New York City and Long Island also positions the organization as a leader in coordinating services for veterans and their families in both communities’ efforts to end veteran homelessness.
SSVF is a participant-focused program where every enrolled household creates individualized Housing Stability Plans that address their immediate housing crises, set realistic goals for addressing barriers to housing stability, and plan for long-term sustainability. S:US provides housing counseling and searches, employment counseling, benefits assistance, and case management. The organization also provides temporary financial assistance to help with rental arrears, utility arrears, security deposits/first month’s rent, broker fees, moving and storage costs, and transportation costs to help stabilize the household and prevent homelessness. In addition, families can use this temporary financial assistance for urgent needs such as childcare, diapers, and formula. S:US provides referrals to local community providers for primary care and behavioral health care services, legal services, and childcare.
About Services for the UnderServed
Services for the UnderServed (S:US) drives scalable solutions to transform the lives of people with disabilities, people in poverty and people facing homelessness: solutions that contribute to righting societal imbalances. Founded in 1978, S:US works with over 37,000 individuals and their families every year to create pathways to rich and productive lives by offering housing, employment, skills-building, treatment, and rehabilitation services. Learn more at sus.org.