Program helping homeless Brazos Valley veterans set to receive second year of federal funding

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – The local nonprofit organization Project Unity is set to get another round of funding in July for its Fresh Start for Vets program.

Fresh Start for Vets is a program that helps homeless veterans in all seven counties the comprise the Brazos Valley. It currently cares for 42 veterans.

”We partner with the community to help them access the services they need. So they may need housing, clothing, all of those things that we take for granted that we have every day,” program coordinator Gina Neuendorff said. “We work with our partners connecting them with VA services so that we can get them employable. The goal of our program is employment.”

Project Unity will receive $260,000 for the second year of its three-year contract. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Labor.

“In our area, our homeless are not in a homeless encampment or typically living under bridges,” Neuendorff said. “They’re usually coach surfing with family members or in and out of incarceration, so we work with a lot of veterans when they become incarcerated so that we can build rapport and make a plan for when they’re released to help them find employment.”

Without the federal funding, Neuendorff says they simply wouldn’t be able to help many of the veterans they serve.

“This is a very underserved population, so we are very blessed and honored to be able to serve it this way,” Neuendorff said.

Neuendorff says one veteran she worked with was struggling heavily with PTSD and told her he was at the lowest point he’d ever been. Neuendorff believes Project Unity helped to save his life because getting him employed assisted him in getting through some of his issues. It’s one reason why she says it’s vital the Fresh Start for Vets program continues to get funding.

“There’s just not enough out there for veterans,” Neuendorff said. “The VA does what they can, but there’s so much more needed. There are so many more soldiers coming home from the war that has gone on for so long, and the military occupations don’t translate to civilian jobs a lot of times. They come home and don’t have the stability and structure that they had during their service. They need support from the community and agencies like us.”

Neuendorff says Project Unity works with over 100 nonprofit organizations in agencies throughout the Brazos Valley’s seven counties.

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