7 ways you can stamp out Veteran homelessness


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This post first appeared on MOAA’s website.

While Veteran homelessness declined nationally by 46 percent since 2010, there was nearly a 2 percent increase in 2017. That has led VA leaders to call on Americans for help in ending veteran homelessness in their communities.

About 40,000 Veterans are homeless in the U.S. and any sign of an increase means the VA needs to rethink its approach to combating the problem, VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin told members of Congress last month. The key, he said, is getting veterans employed and into sustainable housing.

MOAA is committed to ending Veteran homelessness and much of that work happens at the chapter level, said retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Aniela Szymanski, MOAA’s director of government relations for Veterans benefits

“MOAA chapters across the nation have donated their time, energy, and money to help homeless Veterans in their local communities,” Szymanski said. “Their work is selfless and inspiring. It takes that type of community engagement in cooperation with action by Congress to fund programs and provide the right type of resources to prevent and end Veteran homelessness for good.”

Here’s how you can help end Veteran homelessness in your own community.

1. Push for housing options

Veterans need access to affordable housing, so encourage local property owners to consider ways they can help. Some Veterans may be eligible for the Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing program, so you can encourage veterans to check that out, too.

veteran housing

HUD-VASH is a collaborative program between HUD and the VA that combines HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services to help homeless Veterans and their families find and sustain permanent housing. (HUD photo)

2. Learn their names

Veterans in need of housing don’t always know where to turn. Let them know you’re there to help. Connect with them and learn their names. Share that list with your networks so no veteran falls through the cracks.

3. Help them navigate the system

There are housing navigators that can help Veterans complete paperwork and other complex tasks as they search for permanent housing. The VA has a toolkit to help guide them in the right direction. You can access that here.

4. Help provide supplies

Veterans who find homes need mattresses, small appliances and other household items. Help collect the items or check with VA Voluntary Service and local homeless coordinators to see if they know where you can find them.

5. Help provide move-in costs

Veterans often need cash to cover security deposits or rental fees before they can move into a new place. Check with local organizations that might offer programs to help Veterans cover these costs.

6. Help Veterans get jobs

Encourage local businesses leaders to advertise job openings at their local VA medical centers. Employers can work with VA community employment coordinators there to post jobs and set up interviews with qualified candidates.

veteran job fair

VA centers can facilitate interviews between employers and Veteran candidates. (VA photo) 

You also can help Veterans get to and from interviews or jobs by hooking them up with free bus and train passes, which some Veterans’ service organizations provide.

7. Take the challenge

The VA is launching Project CHALENG – Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups – and they need your input. The assessment helps unite veterans with local advocates and service providers. The goal: to learn how best to meet the needs of homeless vets. Sign up for Project CHALENG here.


About the author: This post first appeared on MOAA’s website and was submitted by MOAA staff to VAntage Point. The Military Officers Association of America is the nation’s largest association of military officers. It is an independent, nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

    1. Missy Nelson    

      Can’t believe it’s not on the list. Wow.

  1. Donald Welty    

    Help veterans get jobs, that would be nice if you could

  2. Mark Hendrix    

    As a homeless vet that tryed to use the system, but going on a week now and no answer and me and my family still on the street trying to find places to park. that we can park and sleep let our animals out to play use the bathroom. Because no shelter will take us and them and I have lost enough things. All the VA dose is hand you a bunch phone numbers and say good luck. The atkin wilks group was or is not sure what they are doing. We me with them a week ago and still nothing, I contacted them the work I got back in a email is , keep looking like they are not involved, because they don’t no if I’ll get approved or not. Two cops from our area saw us a plubic boat ramp came to tell us to move , the were very nice to use . They out of there on pocket paid for a room for us and gave us money for food and gas. They did not have to do this. The VA response to why we can’t get help is there is not enough money to go around , but the government can spend billions over seas helping people that Even fight for this country. And they wonder sucied rates are so high. And all I want is help. To me as a vet they ack as that is enough I done all I can and they go home to there homes .

  3. Ernest Johnson    

    Mark,
    I would recommend contacting your Congress Persom Immediately. I pray you’re a registered voter. If not no better time than now to increase the chances to receive assistance. Hope some of this hel.

    peace and love,

    Ernest

  4. Mrs Daniels    

    The best way to decrease homelessness among veterans is prevention.

    Throughout my 11 years in the military, I have had more education on sexual harassment and educational benefits but never was I educated about saving money, investing, and planning for the future.

    I wish I was taught, that would have been nice and instead I learned the hard way about debt management and managing money.

    The tips provided in this article is good for those vets who are already homeless but prevention is always key.

  5. Glory Udoh    

    Asset Building Network, Inc. in Houston provides Transitional Housing for Veterans with Honorable Discharge. Vets are referred through the VA Medical Center in Houston via the Healthcare for the Homeless program. We do not Accept the HUD VASH Voucher.

  6. Darla J Renslow    

    I agree with Mark. Only thing is, at least you have a car to sleep in. I don’t. I miss my husband every day. Since he’s been gone, the V. A. gives me a little bit of money, (not enough to pay rent any where). Like I don’t count. I get no help . Just a bunch of numbers, I get no response from anyone. I don’t know what to do. Me and my cat and dog will be homeless as of April 1st. I’m scared. But good luck to you and your family. You’re in my prayers.

  7. Kathy Beardsworth    

    Homes for the Brave in Bridgeport, CT provides transitional housing services for homeless Veterans. There is also a Veterans Service Center there providing services to any Veteran who is homeless or at-risk of homelessness. The Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes program, also in Bridgeport, provides transitional housing services to female Veterans and their young children – the only program in the state dedicated exclusively to female Veterans. We work closely with the VA in West Haven. We provide case management, life skills coaching, vocational services, resume writing, interview training, etc. Please reach out to us if you need assistance: 203-338-0669, http://www.homesforthebrave.org.

  8. EDWARD FRANCIS DORAN    

    GOOD EVENING – I AM A FORMER AIR FORCE MEMBER AND USE THE WONDERFUL CINCINNATI VA CENTER. I AM 88 YEAR OLD MALE LIVING IN A WONDERFUL LSOP HOME IN CINCINCINATI.
    WHERE I AM EXPECTED TO BE ASKED TO LEAVE BECAUSE OF INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS.. WHAT SHOULD I DO. ASK FOR HELP IN FINDING A NEW PLACE TO LIVE. THANK YOU. EDWARD F. DORAN.

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