Mayor Lenny Curry’s office announced this morning that the city’s Military Affairs and Veterans Department has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The grant, worth $231,750, will go toward the organization’s Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program, which works to assist local homeless veterans by providing vocational training, resume prep services, and more with the aim of aiding re-entry into the workforce.
The program, now in its twelfth year, had just under 100 clients last year, placing 78 into the work force and providing vocational training for 98% of their clients. The 78 veterans who gained employment are now earning an average hourly wage of $12.32.
In order to qualify for inclusion in the city’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, veterans must either be homeless, living in a temporary home or shelter, or facing eviction from their current home or shelter.
“Jacksonville is a proud military town that takes seriously our commitment to the men and women who have served and sacrificed so much on behalf of our nation,” Mayor Lenny Curry said via press release. “No veteran should be forced to spend a night on the streets of a nation they have fought to defend. I am proud of the hard work that our Military Affairs and Veterans Department and Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program accomplish in support of our veterans.”
As a result of programs like HVRP as well as other public and private efforts, the number of homeless veterans in Jacksonville has been on the decline for the past decade. In 2017, Changing Homelessness reported that the number of homeless veterans in Northeast Florida had decreased by more than 80%.
Veterans were previously estimated to make up around 10% of the city’s homeless population. The city’s overall homelessness rate, meanwhile, has decreased by 27%.
Information about the city’s homeless veterans program can be found by contacting their staff at (904) 255-5550.