Each day, we have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those in need. The holiday season especially is a great time to make a difference in the lives of Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Below are four ways to support efforts to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans:
- Volunteer for the upcoming 2020 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. During the last 10 days of January, many communities across the United States will conduct a point-in-time count of their local homeless population. The results will be used to estimate overall homelessness and homelessness among several subpopulations, including Veterans. If you’re interested in participating, contact your local homelessness Continuum of Care (CoC) to find out if volunteers are needed.
The 2019 PIT Count revealed that the number of Veterans who were homeless on a single night decreased by 2.1% between 2018 and 2019 and by nearly 50% between 2010 and 2019. Click here to learn more about the 2019 PIT Count results.
- Volunteer for Stand Downs or other local events. Stand Downs are typically one- to three-day events during which VA staff and volunteers provide food, clothing and health screenings to homeless and at-risk Veterans. In addition, Veterans also receive referrals for health care, housing solutions, employment, substance use treatment, mental health counseling and other essential services. Click here to find the dates and points of contact for Stand Downs near you.
- Financial contributions can make a huge difference to those exiting homelessness. Your donation will go toward essential living needs such as security deposits, cookware, bedding and other items to help Veterans exit homelessness and quickly reintegrate back into their communities. You can even specify how you would like your donation to be used. Donate online here.
- Hire Veterans. Despite possessing skillsets that are transferable to many different fields, Veterans who are or were previously homeless sometimes face difficulties securing stable employment. VA’s Community Employment Coordinators (CECs) are available to assist organizations in recruiting, interviewing and hiring job-ready Veterans for entry and mid-level positions. If you would like to consider hiring job-ready Veterans to work in your organization, contact your local CEC.
Consider how you can serve those who have already given so much. We need your help to achieve our goal of ensuring that homelessness among Veterans is rare, brief and nonrecurring.
Below are three VA blog posts about organizations that have joined the fight to end Veteran homelessness:
- The End Veteran Homelessness Challenge draws to successful conclusion with support from elementary schools across the country
- Homeless Veterans in Oklahoma City receive winter coats, boots and blankets
- Veterans Matter Program and VA announce milestone of helping 1,500 homeless Veterans secure stable housing
- Discover more ways to assist Veterans who are experiencing homelessness this holiday season by checking out the “How to Help Homeless Veterans” video on the VA Homeless multimedia page under the Web Videos drop down menu.
- Visit this webpage for information about the communities that have ended Veteran homelessness.
- Learn more about VA’s programs for homeless Veterans at gov/homeless.
- Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless should contact their local VA medical center and ask to speak to a homeless coordinator, or call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).
Written by VA’s Homeless Veterans Outreach and Strategic Communications Office