A homeless shelter for veterans in Delaware is getting some support from the Veterans Administration.
The VHA Homeless Program Office is awarding a $1 million competitive grant to the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans in Wilmington as part of a national effort to combat homelessness.
The center provides safe affordable housing as well as support services for its veterans.
Wilmington VA Medical Center Director Vince Kane says they’re a critical partner.
“Our VA was very supportive of this partner,” said Kane. “It’s somebody that our community in Delaware has worked with, we’ve worked with very closely. They have the expertise. They’re aligned with the philosophies that we have and they provide excellent service.”
The new dollars come from the VA’s Grant & Per Diem Program which has sought to combat veteran homelessness since 1994. They will be used to help support case manager positions and add ten new beds for women veterans at the homeless shelter.
Kane says these supports are crucial as the pandemic has created new challenges for veterans.
“We’ve seen heightened mental health concerns. We’ve seen heightened substance abuse concerns impacting veterans and non-veterans,” Kane said. “So having these additional resources are critical to help us make sure that we are resourced properly, so if somebody does experience homelessness that it’s very brief and it’s nonrecurring.”
The year’s point in time count shows homelessness rising sharply overall in Delaware. The Firsts State’s count captured more than 1,500 people experiencing homelessness, a 35% increase compared to 2020.