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7 Ways to Combat Veteran Homelessness

By    |   Friday, 09 March 2018 09:01 AM

Efforts to combat veteran homelessness have achieved success through coordination at the local, state, and national levels. Some cities and communities have significantly reduced homelessness for vets using programs that offer services and housing opportunities.

Many housing programs are available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but many vets don’t have the means to connect to the right services and providers available to them. It often takes assistance from individuals and organizations as well as officials to provide homes for those in need.

Here are seven ways you can help to combat veteran homelessness:

1. Get involved — If you know a veteran who is homeless or possibly becoming homeless, refer the person to the nearest VA Medical Center. The VA has established vet homeless programs. Vets and their families can call 1-877-4AID-VET to learn about the available programs.

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2. Participate in Stand Downs — These outreach events are held locally to inform vets where they can get immediate, on-site services for healthcare and benefits. Stand Downs are usually coordinated by VA centers, local government agencies, and service providers in the community.

3. Help with affordable housing — Veterans getting back on their feet after an experience with homelessness might need affordable housing to stay off the street. You can encourage landlords and property owners to provide needed housing at low costs.

4. Support community efforts — Local communities offer the best hope to combat veteran homelessness by working with the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Local council members, property owners, and nonprofit organizations work together with national leadership to make resources available to vets more effective.

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5. Encourage systematic programs in your area — Houston is among the cities that have wiped out veteran homelessness through a process that gets vets into housing services and sustains resources for those in need, NeighborWorks points out. The process includes identifying homeless vets, one-stop services to help connect them to a housing unit, and preparing for future homelessness by allowing continued access for vets to the system.

6. Promote transportation services — Some veterans organizations, such as Disabled American Veterans (DAV), offer rides for vets to find out about services and benefits. Other groups have transportation services for healthcare and to help vets keep steady jobs. There may be free bus or train passes for vets.

7. Endorse veteran employment — Employers can hire vets who need work through local workforce or homelessness services. They can also contact VA community employment coordinators at VA medical centers to set up interviews with qualified vets.

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Efforts to combat veteran homelessness have achieved success through coordination at the local, state, and national levels.
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Friday, 09 March 2018 09:01 AM
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