Father Bill’s Does It Again with Veterans Assistance!

Having first hand knowledge, Father Bill’s Place/ Mainspring have been doing great work on the South Shore for some time now. As I recall, they were successfully able to reduce the rate of chronic homeless in the City fo Quincy by 50% in just a few short years.

In today’s Boston Globe is a story about the work that Father Bill’s does with homeless Veterans

So it comes as no surprise that Father Bill’s would be awarded another round of grant funding to work with homeless Veterans. Congratulations!

By Jessica Bartlett, Town Correspondent

Father Bill’s & MainSpring is again stepping up aid to homeless veterans with the help of a $175,000 grant from the state.

The grant, awarded Thursday during a gathering at Father Bill’s shelter in Quincy, will help formerly homeless veterans find housing and employment. This is the second year Father Bill’s and MainSpring has received the grant, an act that has not gone unnoticed.

“We are really excited about this grant. [Father Bill’s] believes no veteran should have to experience homelessness with the sacrifices they’ve made,” said John Yazwinski, CEO of Father Bill’s & MainSpring. “Certainly in these economic times, we’ve seen so many veterans fall into homelessness because of unemployment, so we’re very excited to take care of our local veterans.”

In this last year alone, Father Bill’s has employed 47 veterans using the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, according to a press release. Father Bill’s runs shelters in Quincy and Brockton, and helps homeless individuals and families across southastern Massachusetts find housing and employments.

According to Yazwinski, finding employment can truly set up a struggling veteran for success.

“We’re targeting careers where veterans can become self-sufficient. We’ve had people go back to culinary school, health fields, homeland security, we’ve had a lot go into the field of IT training. So it’s providing the resources to help them get into programs to help them in their career path,” Yazwinski said.

Homelessness in veterans has been a growing problem in the last decade, he said. When Yazwinski joined Father Bill’s, an average of 25-30 veterans were seeking help with homelessness. Now, about 135 veterans a year, of all ages and from all wars, fall into homelessness.

Yazwinski knew it was time to step up aid after receiving a phone call from the wife of a soldier in Iraq.

“Her husband was out fighting the Iraq war,” he said. “When he was out there he was notified that he wouldn’t have a job to come back to because of the recession. [It was then that I thought] it’s time we stepped up as a community to help our veterans.”

Coleman Nee, undersecretary of the Department of Veteran Services, also believes that solving this issue is of utmost importance.

“[The state] is doing quite a bit. We contract with 31 services providers throughout the commonwealth. The vast majority are either veteran shelters of veteran resource centers, or assisting homeless veterans,” he said.

“Massachusetts in general has the most generous and broadest network of state veteran benefits than any other state in the nation. So we’re assisting these veterans with everything from monthly income to covering medical care expenses to providing them with the ability to access and find housing,” he said.

For Nee, the grant benefits not only veterans who find employment, but businesses as well.

“Veterans make excellent employees. Especially those who have recently returned,” Nee said. “They have had hundreds of dollars spent on them to train them, they have no problems at all working within a chain of command. Details and uniforms are something they take a lot of pride in. They can add a lot to your business.”

Nee is encouraging residents who own businesses to interview these veterans for jobs. In addition, Nee suggest that local help in whatever way they can.

“There is a lot people can do. If you go to our website, we have a list of all our veteran shelters and outreach centers. All of them are always interested in getting support from the local community, whether it be in a financial way or volunteering,” he said.

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