Smithfield Foods honored at special ceremony for donation to the Veterans Services Foundation
Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that Smithfield Foods has donated $68,000 to support state programs for homeless veterans. In a special ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial, Smithfield Foods was honored for its donation to the Veterans Services Foundation in support of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS).
“The success of the DVS Homeless Veteran Program has exceeded all expectations. This success is attributed to the ongoing partnership between federal, state, regional and local agencies and to the support of donors like Smithfield Foods,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The community partners and agencies within the Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) recognize that not all of the financial needs of homeless veterans can be met through government resources, and that donated funds can fill important gaps.”
Over the past four years, DVS has worked with federal, state, and local partners to improve cross-agency coordination and to improve service capacity for homeless veterans. This coordination has greatly improved the identification of homeless veterans and enabled agencies serving homeless veterans to make quick connections to appropriate housing resources. In 2015, Virginia was certified by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as the first state in the nation to functionally end veteran homelessness. Over 3,000 veterans have been placed in permanent housing since October 2014.
In July 2016, the Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) program, part of DVS, identified the need for supplemental funding to help veterans in the process of being housed. Working with the Veterans Services Foundation and twenty-five partner housing agencies in the Homeless Continuum of Care, DVS established a pilot program to use donated funds to provide one-time gap assistance for homeless veterans in the process of being housed. These expenses include deposits/first month rent, beds, rental arrears, utility assistance, etc. that cannot be paid by other federal, state, or local resources. To date, 156 veterans have been assisted.
“At Smithfield Foods, our ongoing commitment to support veterans directly aligns with the DVS Homeless Veteran Program’s mission, and we are proud to provide resources to ensure this program’s continued success,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods. “We are proud to play a role in this program, which allows us to give back to our nation’s service members and marks the beginning of a unique public-private partnership.”
The funds for the DVS Homeless Veterans Program are allocated from donations made to the Veterans Services Foundation (VSF). Karla Williams Boughey, Executive Director of the VSF noted “Smithfield Foods has a longstanding tradition of supporting military families and veterans. We are so thankful for Smithfield Food’s support and I am pleased that this gift will help ensure that veteran homelessness in Virginia is rare, brief, and non-reoccurring.”
-Submitted by Charlotte Gomer