OSDRI announces $600K in COVID-19 relief for veterans

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Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) has received over $600,000 in additional federal and private foundation grants to assist local veterans and those currently serving that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic shutdown. The private grants were received from the Rhode Island Foundation and the National Grid Foundation.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law by President Trump on March 27 made an additional $578,000 in emergency funding available to assist qualifying local veterans with housing, emergency shelter and utility assistance.

“The CARES Act Funding allows OSDRI to rapidly house literally homeless veterans, pay rent in arrears for those about to become homeless, shelter veterans in hotels to avoid the use of congregate living locations and assist low-income veterans with utilities,” Executive Director Erik B. Wallin said. “At the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, OSDRI’s case managers worked quickly with the Providence VA Medical Center and State officials to identify veterans in the RI Homeless Shelter System over age 60 and place them in local hotels. Throughout the crisis the organization has continued to provide temporary financial and emergency food assistance to veterans in crisis.”

OSDRI also received a $70,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation and $5,000 from the National Grid Foundation. These funds are less restrictive than the federal funds and have allowed OSDRI to assist not only low-income veterans but also members of the Rhode Island National Guard who have been called to active duty and are serving on the front line of the COVID-19 response.

“Many of our local Rhode Island National Guard members who are serving on the frontline response to COVID-19 have been struggling and OSDRI is proud to be able to support them and their families with support from these organizations,” Wallin said. OSDRI has helped dozens of guard members by making small grants to assist with rent, car repairs, food and fuel purchases.

Those needing assistance with housing, employment, VA and Social Security Disability Claims or sustenance can contact OSDRI at 401-383-4730. OSDRI case managers, all of whom are veterans, have been serving our clients throughout the governor’s shutdown orders by working remotely and maintaining a limited staff on site at its headquarters in Johnston.

The federal funding from the CARES act is being administered through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families Grant (SSVF). OSDRI has received over $1 million annually through the SSVF grant since 2013.

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