Veterans Affairs offices and organizations across the state are set to receive more than $2.8 million to support initiatives to combat homelessness, transportation needs for vets, and more.
Pennsylvania’s 12 Veterans Affairs offices and charities that provide support to veterans in the state will receive a boost in funding thanks to $800,000 in grants from the Veterans Trust Fund (VTF). Combined with matching funds, the total investment in veterans’ initiatives over the next two years in Pennsylvania will total more than $2.8 million.
In announcing the grant awards, Gov. Josh Shapiro said, “Our veterans served our country and defended our freedoms—they have sacrificed for us and they deserve access to quality care and services when they come home. Thanks to the generosity of Pennsylvanians who donate to the Veterans’ Trust Fund, service organizations all across the Commonwealth will be able to provide critical support to our veterans— everything from transportation services to peer support groups.”
The VTF is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Funding comes from voluntary donations, an optional $3 donation Pennsylvanians can make at the DMV when applying for a new driver’s license, and the sale of “Honoring our Veterans” and “Honoring our Women Veterans” license plates.
More than 700,000 veterans reside in Pennsylvania, the 4th largest veteran population in the country. The funds will be used primarily to support initiatives to combat homelessness, transportation needs, and veterans’ outreach. Veterans make up about approximately 11% of adults experiencing homelessness, as a result of the difficulties that come with transitioning back to civilian life. Making transportation services accessible to disabled veterans is a pressing issue, and outreach efforts can help support veterans struggling with PTSD and assimilating back into their community.
Major General Mark Schindler, head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in Pennsylvania and Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, said, “The VTF program is crucial and helps expand our network of services by partnering with organizations that can expand our outreach. We are grateful to all Pennsylvanians who donate and to the grant recipients who put these funds to good use helping veterans and their families.”
Some $150,000 in grants will be distributed among the 12 Veterans Affairs offices.The VTF has allocated $650,000 in grants to be used between organizations like Meals on Wheels (Erie), Warrior Strong (Lackawanna), and Women Veterans Empowered and Thriving (Allentown).
A breakdown of what each office and organization will receive, and what it will be used for, can be found here.
Donations to the VTF can be made here.