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Salvation Army program helps struggling veterans, military personnel

Daily Item - 2/5/2019

Feb. 05--Union County veterans and active duty personnel struggling through a financial hardship now have a lifeline -- Project Frontline, a new program launched this month by the Salvation Army in Milton.

Recognizing a gap in local resources for veterans, the program offers "a hand to those struggling to find their way after coming back home," said Lt. Jennifer Burke, Corps Officer, The Salvation Army, Milton.

The program's goal is to ensure that all service members and veterans in our area have a financial assistance program available to them in a time of need, Burke said.

"The program was approved internally in May 2018, and launched Feb. 1, covering residents in specific communities in Northumberland County and Union County, said Salvation Army community coordinator Joel Harris. Funding for the program derives from a legacy grant bestowed in Union County for Union County vets. Hence, for now, those seeking assistance from this program must live within these zip codes: Lewisburg (17837), West Milton (17886), Allenwood (17810), White Deer (17887) and New Columbia (17856).

"We hope that by the end of the year, we can roll out the program in northern Northumberland County," Harris said.

The Salvation Army of Milton will offer financial relief, rent/mortgage assistance, emergency housing, emergency food, medication assistance and/or furniture and clothing assistance, which is determined by the specific needs of the client.

There is an eligibility requirement based on proof of service, Harris said. Those who have received a dishonorable discharge are not eligible for the program.

"There are some people out there who look for assistance but just don't reach the requirements and just need financial counseling. We base needs on an area's poverty guidelines -- this is a local-based program," Harris noted.

The Salvation Army has reached out to some veteran's groups, such as VFWs and the American Legion, Harris said. "We are looking to receive confirmation that they are willing to support this program but have not received any endorsement at this time."

In the earliest days of the program two veterans have been helped; they both declined to be interviewed, but Harris said they were helped paying rent and paying sewer bills. Harris said they are budgeted to help up to 50 people this calendar year.

"That's maybe ambitious," he said, "but we wanted to aim high."

There are a significant number of veterans and servicemen and women residing in Pennsylvania. According to the State of Pennsylvania'sDepartment of Labor & Industry Center for Workforce Information & Analysis, there were 345,906 veterans between the ages of 18 and 64 living in Pennsylvania in 2016. There are about 7,500 veterans in Northumberland County and 2,700 in Union. Also, per a report by Governing.com, there were 2,580 active duty members of the military and 30,244 members of Reserve forces living in Pennsylvania in September 2017.

For more information about Project Frontline, visit: www.SalvationArmyMilton.org or call 570-742-4231.

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(c)2019 The Daily Item (Sunbury, Pa.)

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