Veterans Day honors all those who have served the United States in war or peace. Veterans Day also highlights the importance of programs and services that help support and empower America’s living veterans, such as the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).
CSBG and Veterans
CSBG supports a nationwide network of over 1,000 Community Action Agencies (CAA’s). CAAs are hubs for various programs and services such as employment coaching, housing, job training, energy assistance, and more. Many CAA’s are also implementers of other federal programs serving veterans, such as Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF).
Funding for the SSVF program comes from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). SSVF grantees provide supportive services to eligible veterans and their families. Services include outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits, and assistance in accessing mainstream benefits. Grantees may also provide additional services such as temporary financial assistance with rent, utility, and child care expenses. In 2020, the VA will award approximately $426 million in awards to 271 grant programs for SSVF, located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. At least 36 CAAs will be implementing the SSVF program in 2020. View a full list of SSVF grantees here.
Other critical programs implemented by CAAs include the Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’ s Veterans Administration Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH). Several CAAs have also been instrumental in efforts to help their communities achieve “Functional Zero” for veteran homelessness. Learn more here:
- Mid-Michigan Community Action (HVRP)
- Total Action For Progress (HUD-VASH)
- Rockford Community Action Agency (Functional Zero)
- HopeSource (Functional Zero)
WAP and Veterans
The WAP serves every county in every state in the nation, providing critical energy efficiency investments for income qualified households. Weatherization measures like insulation, air sealing, efficient HVAC systems, and more help reduce families’ monthly energy bills, while making their homes healthier and safer. For many veterans living on a fixed income, this program is critical, freeing up income for other necessities. Read the stories of several veterans from across the country who have been helped by WAP:
- Mr. Serrano, a Navy veteran who served on an aircraft carrier from 1963-65. His home was weatherized by the Alamo Area Council of Governments in Texas.
- Mr. and Mrs. Parker, Navy veterans whose energy bill sometimes reached $600 per month. Their home was weatherized by Project HOMES in Virginia.
- Mr. Knight, a Vietnam-era veteran with emphysema and other breathing problems. His home was weatherized by Ninth District Opportunity, Inc. in Georgia.
Additionally, the WAP supports jobs and small businesses in our communities, providing jobs to many veterans across the country. An evaluation from Oak Ridge Laboratory found that the WAP directly supports over 8,500 weatherization jobs, while a recent report from E4TheFuture finds at least 2.3 million jobs in the energy efficiency sector as a whole. E4TheFuture also found that although only six percent of the total U.S. workforce are veterans, at least ten percent of energy efficiency workers are veterans, meaning that energy efficiency provides a robust and rewarding career to close to 236,000 veterans!