United Way Priority Veteran will provide more services to Alabama’s veterans than ever before

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After 10 years of operation in the state of Alabama, which has seen homelessness among veterans decrease by 40% in that same time, United Way Priority Veteran has received its largest grant ever from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), totaling $4,217,748. 

The Priority Veteran program is dedicated to helping veterans experiencing homelessness and their families – or those who are at immediate risk of losing their homes – locate and secure permanent, affordable housing. Case managers also work with clients to help them apply for benefits that they are eligible for and acquire the skills necessary to become financially stable. 

Each year, the primary funder of Priority Veteran is an annual grant from the VA through Supportive Services for Veteran Families. This year’s total is almost $2 million more than the amount awarded last year. 

The extra funding will enable Priority Veteran to increase the number of veterans served, services provided and build up the program’s staff. 

Drew Langloh, United Way of Central Alabama’s President and CEO, said this funding means more veteran support is coming. 

“In the 10 years that Priority Veteran has sought to keep our veterans and their families in homes, we have made significant progress toward that goal,” Langloh said. “We are excited to see the increase in service provision and service quality that this increased funding will bring.” 

Dr. Ladi Kukoyi, CEO/Executive Director of the Birmingham VA Health Care System, said the strength of the effort to house and keep veterans housed “lies in unity and collaboration.” 

“Our work at the Birmingham VA Health Care System is significantly enhanced by the support and dedication of partners like Priority Veteran and United Way,” Kukoyi said. “These organizations are vital in helping us fulfill our mission of providing necessary housing for veterans and their families who are experiencing hardships, no matter the cause.” 

In 2023 alone, Priority Veteran helped 619 military veterans who were either experiencing homelessness or were at immediate risk of eviction. Of those who completed the program, 90% were able to get back into either temporary or permanent housing. 

Lula Skowronek, Director of Priority Veteran, said she appreciates the added support for filling a need which is so prevalent in Alabama and across the country. 

“This added funding will enable us to do more for our veterans than ever before,” Skowronek said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with this opportunity for our staff to make an even greater impact in the lives of a population which is so deserving of our support.” 

Staffing additions from the new funding include two housing specialists, who will help recruit more landlords who agree to partner with Priority Veteran in helping keep clients housed, as well as an eligibility specialist to help increase the efficiency of the statewide organization. 

The program serves veterans in every Alabama county except Mobile and Baldwin. For more information, visit https://www.priorityveteran.org.