City Awarded Grant To Help Homeless Veterans Find Jobs

Jun 21, 2017

Jacksonville has been awarded $225,000 to help homeless veterans get jobs.

Military Affairs and Veterans Department Director Bill Spann said the city has received the federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for at least five years.

The money will fund a program focused on veterans coming out of prison, as well as female vets. Spann said with this work, he’s hoping to also change public perception. 

“We’ve got to get away from the mindset — both in the veteran’s mind and in others’ minds in town — that somehow veterans are broken,” Spann said. “They’re not. They are extremely productive, extremely intelligent and capable of great things.” 

He said the city’s department focuses mostly on employment, but it connects veterans with other services if they need help for substance abuse or housing to get them stabilized and ready to work.

The plan is to enroll at least 100 vets in the grant-funded  year-long reintegration program, which starts July 1.  

The latest grant is renewable for up to three years.

Spann said over the last two years, his department has assisted more than 14,000 veterans, and the numbers have increased each year. He said this year it’s assisted about 20 percent more people than the previous year. 

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride