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Soldier On, SPCA join forces to aid veterans

Date: 9/26/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – Soldier On and Springfield Partners for Community Action (SPCA) are joining forces to provide additional services to veterans and their families in the four western counties in Massachusetts.

The announcement was made on Sept. 16 off the program that will be funded $757,000 in Supportive Services for Veteran Family (SSVF) grants from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to Soldier On. The program is designed to help 200 participants.

Paul Bailey, the executive director of SPCA, told Reminder Publications the goal of the new program is to provide “supportive services to stabilize homes” and address the issues that can cause homelessness before it happens.

Bailey said the program, which will operate out of the anti-poverty agency’s offices at 619 State St. is scheduled to start on Oct. 1.

The SSVF funds will help underwrite programs to provide case management services, assistance with obtaining Veteran’s Administration (VA) benefits and as well as obtaining health care services, financial planning assistance, transportation, fiduciary and payee services, legal services and housing counseling.

Bailey said his agency is already helping people in Western Massachusetts with some of these issues.

“We are happy to partner with Soldier On to make sure local veterans and their families get all the help they need. We already offer programs that can provide help like housing assistance, credit counseling, childcare, and much more. Bailey said.

The grant money will fund the program over the next three years and Baily said the intention is to operate it permanently at SPCA.

“We are very grateful to the VA for creating a program that identifies underserved veterans and allows us to respond immediately to the crises in their lives,” Soldier On President and CEO John Downing said. “The Supportive Services for Veteran Families program allows us to intervene and stabilize veterans and their family members in the living situation that they are now in so that they don’t have to face the difficulties of homelessness.”

Veterans seeking to enroll in the program should call Soldier On at 1-866-406-8449.