12/05/2011 05:25 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2011

Veteran Homelessness: VA Offers $100 Million In Prevention Grants

In an effort to keep veterans from turning to the streets, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday that it will offer $100 million in grants to local agencies that help returning troops in need.

The VA estimates that 107,000 veterans are without a place to stay on any given night and has committed to eliminating the mounting problem by 2015. The VA's most recent program will enable community agencies to apply for grants from a $100 million pot, so that they can intervene before former servicemen and servicewomen are forced to give up their homes.

"The problems that lead to homelessness begin long before veterans and their families are on the streets," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in a statement. "By putting more resources into prevention services for people at risk of becoming homeless, we will continue to help veterans and their families get back on their feet and turn their lives around."

The program aims to help more than 35,000 veterans and families.

Offering veterans training, education and counseling -- among other services -- is critical before returning troops resort to living in cardboard boxes. Homeless veterans are more likely to develop life-threatening diseases -- and remain on the streets longer -- than non-veteran homeless people, according to a study conducted by the 100,000 Homeless Campaign released in November.

"Those who have served this nation as veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope," Shinseki said.

CORRECTION: The headline on this story originally said $1 million was granted. The correct number is $100 million. The post has been updated to reflect the change.

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