It is estimated that 75,000 veterans are sleeping on the streets on a given night, and about 135,000 have spent at least one night in a shelter, according to recent surveys. This fall, there are 28 communities across the nation, including San Francisco, St. Louis and Miami, that are looking to combat this trend. Special programs will work to highlight the issue and give more aid to homeless veterans in need, as well as provide resources to veterans’ families and those at risk of becoming homeless.
The “Make the Call” campaign is part of the Veterans Administration’s push to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015. These local programs will explore veteran homelessness and encourage community members and military families to assist those in need by contacting the VA.
The VA will offer a broad range of aid programs, including healthcare for homeless veterans, healthcare and other services for veterans exiting prison, information on programs like Veteran Stand Downs, Drop-In Centers, and the VA’s Homeless Veteran Dental Assistance Program.
This new plan to tackle veteran homelessness is a much needed improvement from past programs, which relied primarily on providing temporary housing solutions. Today, the focus is on prevention and finding permanent housing for those in need.
In the VA’s Compensated Work Therapy program, homeless veterans earn pay while learning new job skills, relearning successful work habits and regaining a sense of self-esteem and self-worth
The VA’s call center for homeless veterans, staffed around the clock by trained professionals, is 877-4AID-VET (or 877-424-3838). For a full list of the new campaign’s cities and start dates, visit the VA’s Public and Intergovernmental Affairs page.
Photo thanks to Tattooed JJ under creative commons license on Flickr.