American veterans have sacrificed and risked everything for our freedoms. They have been separated from their friends and families and placed in hostile situations, where injury or death is a very real possibility. In spite of this, tens of thousands of veterans languish on the streets.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, more than 67% of the homeless vet population served in our military for at least three consecutive years. Around 33% of these veterans were stationed in a location inside a war zone. Homeless veterans in the USA have served in a variety of wars and foreign tours, but approximately half of all US veterans who are homeless served in the Vietnam War.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs statistics indicate that 11% of the adult homeless population involves American veterans. Most of these veterans are single. They tend to live in cities and urban areas, and they struggle with substance abuse, mental health issues like PTSD and other forms of mental illness, or they have co-occurring disorders.
As winter approaches, nearly 40,000 veterans experiencing homelessness and their beloved pets lack essential supplies for warmth and comfort, the VA reports.
There are a number of obstacles involved in helping homeless veterans find housing.
According to ShelterList, most homeless shelters do not allow pets. On any given night, veterans without homes are forced to choose between staying with their pets and facing the dangers of existing outside, or checking into a shelter and abandoning the only family they know.
Basic comfort items and nutritious meals can provide homeless veterans with a sense of security and help bridge the gap for our veterans and their pets as they seek to secure permanent housing, World Vision reports.
Greater Good Charities works to provide food and comfort items to veterans experiencing homelessness in areas with high veteran poverty populations.Through our relationship with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, these essential items will ensure local veterans have access to basic supplies and nutritious meals.
Along with food, our Good Packs include basic survival supplies in functional backpacks to veterans in crisis. These supplies for people and pets include blankets, clothing, reusable water bottles, basic hygiene products, pet food and treats, toys, slip leads and collapsible food/water dishes.
Your gift today will help our Good Packs program, and support Greater Good Charities’ other lifesaving programs to help those in need. Just $50 can send a Good Pack to a veteran and their pet!
There are also community resources that you can connect to veterans who are facing housing or employment instability. All American Legion departments have a Homeless Veterans Task Force chairperson and an Employment chairperson who are capable of providing assistance to any homeless or financially destitute veteran who contacts them. The two chairpersons also can coordinate activities with posts in their departments to aid homeless veterans and their families and prevent future homelessness among veterans.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is also committed to ending homelessness among Veterans. The department’s focus includes:
- Conducting coordinated outreach to seek out Veterans in need of assistance.
- Connecting homeless and at-risk Veterans with housing solutions, health care, community employment services, and other support.
- Collaborating with federal, state, and local agencies; employers; housing providers; faith-based and community nonprofits; and other groups to expand employment and affordable housing options for Veterans leaving homelessness.
The VA’s National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans (NCHAV), established in 2009, works to promote recovery-oriented care for Veterans who are homeless or at risk for homelessness by developing and disseminating evidence-based policies, programs, and best practices.
Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams (H-PACTs) at VA medical centers throughout the nation provide homeless Veterans with comprehensive, individualized care, including services that lead to permanent housing.
The Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans program has been providing medical services to disadvantaged Veterans since the close of the Civil War.
The VA’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans program offers examinations treatment, referrals, and case management services to homeless Veterans at more than 135 locations.
The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans (1-877-4AID-VET) is staffed by trained responders providing support and resources to Veterans and their families who lack secure housing. Live chat with trained responders is available at the Veterans Crisis Line website.
They fought for us—let’s fight for them. Take the Help Our Heroes Pledge and give support to veterans who need it most!
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