DAYTON, Ohio — St. Vincent de Paul Social Services, Inc. was awarded a $757,000 federal grant to fight homelessness among hundreds of veterans in southwest Ohio.
The charity has targeted helping at least 252 veterans in the region with housing and needs such as transportation and financial planning, said David Bohardt, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul in Dayton. The Department of Veteran Affairs will pay for the grant, which will be shared with Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley and Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley to tackle homelessness, Bohardt said.
“Often times vets come back to their communities with significant challenges and I think the program recognizes that every community in the country has a special obligation to its veterans,” he said. “I think this program reflects the urgency of that obligation.”
St. Vincent de Paul runs two homeless shelters, one for men and the other for women, in Dayton. Hundreds of those who seek shelter are veterans and many are disabled, he said. The grant will be targeted to help veterans in Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Preble, Clark and Darke counties, among other locations.
In January, the VA counted 131 homeless veterans in Montgomery County, said Bobette Hart-Nelms, Dayton VA Medical Center manager of the homeless and therapeutic supportive employment program. The VA has a goal of eliminating veteran homelessness nationwide by 2015.
Hart-Nelms said St. Vincent de Paul has “a long history” of helping the homeless.
“They are experts in that area,” she said. “We cannot get rid of veteran homelessness without the community.”