As the holidays approach, it’s important to reflect on giving back to those in need. VA understands the importance of partnering with organizations like the “Team AMVETS Welcome Home Program” to ensure that the needs of homeless Veterans are being met throughout the year. Founded the week of Thanksgiving 2012, the program has made more than 1,400 deliveries of furnishing and housing essentials to Veterans in California who have received housing vouchers through the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. Under the program, VA provides program participants with clinical and supportive services through VA’s health care system across the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The Team AMVETS Department of California Service Foundation is a California-based, non-profit corporation that earns revenue from the sale of goods at numerous thrift stores to support Veterans through a variety of programs. They work across the state, which is home to some of the largest Veterans’ reception centers and military bases in the country, in areas including San Diego, Orange, Long Beach, greater Los Angeles and Fresno. While the HUD-VASH vouchers provide homeless Veterans a safe, clean living space, the units come unfurnished. Team AMVETS works to fill this service gap by making these living spaces comfortable homes filled with furniture and other move-in essentials that will allow Veterans to begin with a fresh start in a permanent residence.
By the end of 2014, Team AMVETS will have served more than 1,500 Veterans and families. Through 2015, they will continue to work towards their goal of providing furnishings for every Veteran in California who receives housing vouchers through the HUD-VASH program. As these men and women begin to rebuild their lives, Team AMVETS is there, with many others, when help is needed most.
VA applauds the actions of organizations, like Team AMVETS, that step-in to help homeless Veterans and provide valuable resources and the basic necessities they so rightly deserve. For more information about VA’s programs to end Veteran homelessness, visit http://www.va.gov/homeless.
More information about Team AMVETS can be found on their website at https://www.teamamvets.com/.
Michael Taylor is VA’s Director of Homeless Veterans Outreach.