VA Awards $7.9M to Services for the UnderServed to Support NYC Veterans
Photo credit: S:US
For Immediate Release:
July 22, 2021
Alexis Geslani, S:US Marketing and Communications Director
S:US will provide homeless prevention and rapid rehousing support to more than 500 homeless veteran families in 2022
New York, NY – The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has awarded a grant of $7,934,948 to Services for the UnderServed (S:US), a nonprofit in New York City that brings hope, possibility, and opportunity to vulnerable New Yorkers.
The renewal grant S:US received from the VA was one of the highest awarded and part of $418 million in grants to more than 260 nonprofit organizations, allowing low-income veteran families around the country to access services under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. A list of grantees is located at va.gov/homeless/ssvf/index.asp.
“Home is more than just a roof over your head. It’s an essential element that provides stability for everything else in life. We’re thankful to the Department of Veteran Affairs and the SSVF grant for enabling S:US to give more veterans and their families in New York City and on Long Island the support to face any obstacles to housing stability,” said Donna Colonna, S:US CEO.
The grant will expand S:US’ successful SSVF program, which aims to improve very low income veteran families’ housing stability by providing outreach, case management services, and other core support services that empower program participants to meet their housing stability goals. With this renewed support, S:US will provide homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing support to more than 500 homeless veteran families in 2022. This expanded award includes new Health Navigator positions; these roles were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to help connect individuals to healthcare services.
S:US has successfully operated the 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 rehousing 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 child care, diapers, and formula. S:US provides referrals to local community providers for primary care and behavioral health care services, legal services, and child care.
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. 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, and disconnection from their families. Learn more about how S:US works with veterans at sus.org/our-services/veterans.
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 recovery services. Learn more at sus.org.
 New York State Division of Veterans Services 2020 report.