How $625K in VA funding will help San Bernardino County homeless veterans

Low-income veterans and their families will have more resources to find and stay in permanent housing thanks to more than $625,000 in funding secured through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-San Bernardino, recently announced the funding for Knowledge and Education for Your Success, Inc., the San Bernardino-based nonprofit affiliated with the San Bernardino County Housing Authority. The VA renewed the program for the fifth consecutive year, according to Aguilar.

The money will make a big difference for the people served by KEYS, said Sheronna Quinine, the nonprofit’s acting executive director.

“These dollars go a long way in serving homeless veterans. We have an amazing team of partners, and together we are helping reduce the number of homeless veterans in our county,” Quinine said in a statement. “Through this funding, we’ll continue to take care of these men and women who proudly served our country.”

The money will be used for KEYS’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, which launched in 2013 to help with rapid re-housing for veterans and their families, according to the nonprofit’s website. The program also involves housing stabilization to reduce the number of veterans returning to homelessness.

KEYS staff work with each family to see what resources they need, then offer case management advice and help with accessing VA benefits, searching for housing and working with landlords. They also connect veterans and their families with other community resources, including health care, financial planning, transportation, employment, legal assistance, child care, and daily living.

Temporary financial assistance payments may also be utilized to help with expenses such as rent, utility fees, security deposits, moving costs, transportation and child care.

San Bernardino County has a goal of ending veteran homelessness. In 2016, officials announced they had met that goal, although they continued working as other veterans become homeless.

Aguilar has advocated for more federal funding for veterans since he was elected in 2014, he said.

“The reality is that we as a nation haven’t done enough to take care of our veterans. This grant will go a long way toward making sure that veterans in our community have roofs over their heads,” Aguilar said in a statement. “We’re lucky to have an organization like KEYS in our area that can help facilitate this process and make sure that these federal dollars are put to good use by taking care of local veterans.”

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