Grant will help veterans with housing

Staff writerAugust 29, 2013 

A Tacoma nonprofit has received a $1.8 million federal grant to help veterans on the brink of homelessness in Pierce County find stable housing.

Making a Difference in Community (MDC) plans to use the money from the Veterans Administration to hire people who would be trained to connect veterans with benefits and services that they’re entitled to because of their military service.

“We feel honored to be able to provide services to those who have selflessly served our country,” MDC Director Mark Pereboom said in a news release.

MDC aims to help about 240 veterans in Pierce County. Some of the money also would benefit about 80 more veterans outside the county through the Longview Housing Authority.

The services available through the program include rental assistance, medical care, mental health treatment, transportation, substance abuse treatment, financial planning and child care.

“This funding is a huge help for veterans and their families who are struggling to stay in their homes or to get into permanent housing,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

MDC spokesman Adam Becker-Hafnor said the nonprofit plans to have the veterans outreach program up and running by Oct. 1. It is hiring a manager, a landlord liaison, a data manager, four case managers and five “navigators” who would be the experts on social services.

The grant is renewable, and MDC would like to make it a perennial program.

About 1,475 veterans were estimated to be homeless in Washington state on a single night during a 2012 survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Other veterans could have experienced homelessness at different times that year.

adam.ashton@thenewstribune.com

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