A recent grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs means the Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania can start a new program that also would benefit veteran families in York County.

Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania received a $607,000 grant to be used to run a Supportive Services for Veteran Families, a homeless prevention program.

"The goal is to stabilize (veterans') housing, whether it's to get them back into housing or help them stay where they are," said Alan Garner, Volunteers of America's chief executive officer and president. "We help with payments of utility bills, security deposits or moving expenses."

How it helps: Volunteers of America's main office is in Harrisburg. The nonprofit organization offers about 100 types of human services programs -- from housing to health care -- to help veterans and others rebuild their lives, according to Garner.

The organization, which started in 1896, serves 28,000 individuals in York, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and Perry counties, he said.

Volunteers of America will start the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program Oct. 1 and expects to serve 150 families, Garner said.

Families could be referred to the program though the York County Department of Veterans Affairs and from local veteran groups like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Marine Corps League, Gardner said.

Volunteers of America also will work with community groups that provide services veterans' families could benefit from, he said.

Grants: Altogether, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded close to $1.53 million in homeless prevention grant funding to three southcentral Pennsylvania community service agencies. The other two besides Volunteers of America are Opportunity House in Berks County and the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg.

The three organizations are expected to serve a total 430 families through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.

The three organizations also are among 319 community agencies that received grants nationwide.

"With these grants, we are strengthening our partnership with community nonprofits across the country to provide veterans and their families with hope, a home and a future," said U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

For information about Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania, visit its website at www.voapa.org.