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Grant will help Preble Street extend services for military veterans

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Grant will help Preble Street extend services for military veterans

PORTLAND — Preble Street Resource Center has been awarded nearly $1.7 million in federal funds – its largest grant ever – to expand its services to homeless veterans across the state.

The funding comes from the Department of Veterans Affairs' Supporting Services for Veteran Families Program, according to U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, who announced the award July 11.

The program helps veterans who are homeless or at risk of being homeless transition to permanent housing. In 2012, nearly 90 percent of veterans in the program found housing.

Preble Street received a grant of $850,000 from the program in 2011, but the new grant doubles that amount, and far exceeds any other grant the social service agency has received, Executive Director Mark Swann said.

The funding will be used to hire case workers and housing counselors, and to open offices in Bangor and Lewiston, he said, allowing Preble Street to serve about 1,000 veterans throughout Maine.

Preble Street's Portland location works with about 400 veterans in a partnership with the city's Department of Health and Human Services and Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

"This is going to make a huge difference in the work we are doing with veterans.  We've been doing this work in southern Maine, but this grant means we are going to be able to expand to a statewide presence," Swann said.

Pingree said Preble Street has done great work in helping veterans find housing and in helping those who are at risk of being homeless. 

"This federal funding is going to go a long way toward helping veterans and their families keep a roof over their heads," she said.

William Hall can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or whall@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @hallwilliam4.