One in ten people who went to a homeless shelter in the Lafayette last year was a veteran. Because of the issue across the country, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is stepping up efforts to provide assistance to those in need.
Lafayette Transitional Housing is applying for a VA grant to help veterans. The $180,000 would assist those who are homeless or at risk of losing their home.
Executive Director Jennifer Layton says that amount should address the needs of 75 veterans.
“If a veteran shows up at an emergency shelter, they’d automatically be referred over to the program, so that we can help get folks into housing quickly and provide some wrap around services to make sure that they’re able to stay housed.”
She says the supportive services are necessary to avoid homelessness in the future.
The Lafayette Housing Authority is partnering on the grant effort. Executive Director Al Davis says too often the root cause is never addressed, so the veteran is in a cycle.
“There just might be illness. There might be employment struggles. Those types of things that prevent them from earning a decent income, being in the workforce and, therefore, having the resources to have a home.”
Shelters in Lafayette served 45 veterans last year. Davis says it’s too difficult to quantify how many veterans might be at risk and have not yet sought help.
Layton says getting the word out to veterans will take all the area’s service agencies working together.
“There are a lot of different places have, sort of, a touch with veterans, so we want to make sure all those people know about this resource, so that we don’t have to send folks on a wild goose chase to figure out where to go for help.”
The decision on funding will be announced this summer.