The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods Inc., has donated $150,000 to support programs for homeless veterans and their families in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam announced. Northam accepted the donation from Smithfield Foods on behalf of the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation during a special ceremony. The donation will be designated to the Homeless Veteran Fund.
“With nearly one in 10 Virginians having worn a uniform, our Commonwealth is home to one of the largest veteran populations in the country, and we owe it to our Virginia veterans to ensure they have a safe place to live,” Northam said. “We are grateful for our ongoing partnerships with federal, state, and local agencies, and the financial support of generous donors like Smithfield Foods that enables us to meet the needs of the more than 730,000 veterans living in Virginia and make sure that veteran homelessness in our Commonwealth is rare, brief, and non-recurring.”
In 2015, Virginia became the first state in the nation to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to functionally end veteran homelessness.
“We greatly appreciate Smithfield’s long-standing commitment to Virginia’s veteran community and this donation is just another example of their ongoing support,” said Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins. “Not all of the needs of homeless veterans can be met through government resources and donated funds from businesses, individuals, and community partners help to fill these gaps. We will continue to expand the work to prevent homelessness among veterans as part of our overall efforts to make Virginia the most military-friendly state in the nation.”
The Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program, which is operated by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and VVSF, established the Homeless Veteran Fund in 2016 to provide one-time gap assistance to homeless veterans in the process of being housed and those in danger of becoming homeless. Smithfield’s $150,000 donation adds to their initial $68,000 contribution in 2016 in support of this program. The program has assisted over 700 homeless veterans since its inception by providing funding for housing deposits, rent, and utility payments.