Abington will be transferring $18,000 from its reserve account to the Veteran’s Aid line item.
The Finance Committee unanimously approved this decision at their meeting Wednesday night.
Veteran’s Agent Bob Pratt said he currently has 15 clients, and he briefly talked about how the veterans become clients.
“They have to be very low income,” he said, “They can be homeless, they can be arrears in their rent, [or] they can be arrears in their utilities.”
Pratt added that one of the most difficult parts of his job is finding homes for homeless veterans.
“There’s a lot of great programs out there but they’re overwhelmed by the same thing I’m overwhelmed [with],” he said,”It’s frustrating, actually, to try to find places for these people who, because of no fault of their own, find themselves in these situations.”
Pratt said there is not a limit to the number of clients he can have. He said he thinks a town the size of Abington should usually average somewhere around 30 clients.
“For the longest time there was only seven or eight people on the rolls in Abington,” he said,”I was taken by surprise by how many people are coming in asking for benefits and finding that they are eligible.”
Pratt said a lot of veterans in town are unaware that they are eligible for these benefits, and he is currently trying to reach out to more veterans. “It seems as though when there’s a war going on and it’s hot and heavy that’s when most people find out about benefits for returning veterans,” he said,”But not too many news about benefits that older veterans are eligible for.”
Pratt added that he has been collecting data on three more older veterans in town that were unaware of their eligibility for these benefits.
He said that the additional $18,000 should last until around February, since he is currently averaging about $9,000 a month. He also added that the state reimburses 75% of that money back to the town.