U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today welcomed an announcement that homeless and at-risk veterans and their families will benefit from nearly $3.3 million in grants awarded to three Tucson organizations by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It is a national disgrace that so many men and women who stepped forward to serve our nation have found themselves either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless,” Barber said today. “This funding will help three Southern Arizona organizations assist veterans and their families.”

The Southern Arizona grants were awarded to:

· The Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross, which will receive $1,116,540 to serve about 390 households in Pima, Cochise, Santa Cruz, Graham and Greenlee counties and on the Tohono O’odham, Pascua Yaqui and San Carlos Indian reservations.

· National Community Health Partners, which will receive $1,114,637 to serve 200 households in Pinal and Yuma counties.

· The Primavera Foundation, which will receive $1,050,011 to serve about 150 households in Pima County.

The grants are part of nearly $300 million that was awarded nationwide today to assist 120,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.

The program supports VA’s efforts to prevent veterans from becoming homeless and find homes for those who have recently fallen into homelessness. Veterans are provided with a range of services that promote housing stability and play a key role in connecting them and their families to VA services such as mental health care and other benefits.

Barber represents nearly 90,000 veterans in Southern Arizona in a district that has one of the largest concentrations of veterans in the nation. Barber is a member of the Veterans Jobs Caucus and has a local Veterans Advisory Council that advises him on legislation affecting veterans.

This week, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs subcommittee on health heard testimony on Barber’s Veterans Transportation Service Act, which will help veterans access needed medical care.

Among the many other pieces of legislation Barber has introduced to benefit veterans is a bill that will provide employers with a tax credit for hiring recently discharged veterans. And he introduced the Veterans Health Access Act that will improve access to health care by making it easier for veterans to be treated by private doctors in their communities.

He also cosponsored the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act to expand access to housing assistance to injured, low-income wartime veterans and the Protecting Veterans’ Pensions Act, which will target financial companies that take advantage of veterans by selling them estate planning services and other financial products that prevent veterans from accessing their assets.

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