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Tribe receives $185K grant to aid homeless

By Sarah Willets | The Robesonian, Lumberton, N.C. | Published: January 16, 2016

PEMBROKE (Tribune News Service) — The Lumbee Tribe has been awarded a $185,000 grant to help American Indian veterans in danger of being without a home.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded $5.9 million in grants to 26 tribes to assist veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The Lumbee Tribe was the only state-recognized tribe and the only tribe on the East Coast to receive a grant.

"We are excited to be a part of this initiative," said April Bryant, grant manager for the tribe. "It feels good to know that we will be able to provide a warm and safe place for our veterans to live."

The $185,604 grant will be put toward housing and supportive services for 20 Lumbee veterans who will be placed in rental properties in Robeson, Scotland, Hoke and Cumberland counties.

"The first step is they have to go through the VA and the VA will refer them to us," said Bryant. According to Bryant, Robeson County is home to 7,900 veterans, 40 percent of whom identify as Lumbee.

"We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with HUD and the VA to help our Lumbee veterans," said Courtney Chavis, grant specialist for the Lumbee Tribe. "With this partnership we will be able to significantly reduce the homelessness rate among our American Indian veterans in the four-county service area."

The grant will also be used to provide case management and clinical services from the Veterans Affairs Department.

"The case worker will set them up with the support services they need, whether that's something for PTSD, counseling with their family, or help searching for employment," Bryant said.

Overall, 500 veterans across the country will benefit from the $5.9 million in grants, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"By targeting resources directly to tribes, we can better honor the service and sacrifice of Native American veterans who now need a roof over their heads," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who announced the grant recipients in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at a Jan. 8 meeting of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes. "These heroes deserve hope for a brighter future, and by offering permanent housing solutions, combined with needed services and case management, we can work with tribes to end veteran homelessness."

Since 2008, the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program has served about 103,000 homeless veterans. The program was expanded to include Indian tribes in 2015.

(c)2016 The Robesonian (Lumberton, N.C.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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