Yesterday, our country celebrated one of 10 federal holidays- Memorial Day. This holiday was known as Decoration Day, for the practice of decorating graves of fallen soldiers with flowers, wreaths and flags. On many occasions, Veterans are celebrated, honored and loved by most family members and friends.
We want to be able to show that same support to the men and women who have fought for our country and now are living among the homeless. So what can you do to help a homeless person who says they are a veteran?
Thankfully, in 2009 congress created several programs that would help end homelessness among veterans. While the US Department of Veterans Affairs has many VA Benefits such as education and training, employment resources, disability compensation and more, they are helping fight homelessness with a threefold focus:
- Conducting coordinated outreach to proactively seek out Veterans in need of assistance.
- Connecting homeless and at-risk Veterans with housing solutions, health care,community employment services and other required supports.
- Collaborating with federal, state and local agencies; employers; housing providers faith-based and community nonprofits; and others to expand employment and affordable housing options for Veterans exiting homelessness.
The list of opportunities for homeless veterans is extensive and includes things such as Mental Health services, Women Veterans Resources, Community Resources, Emergency Resources, Employment programs and more. If you come in contact with a homeless veteran you can do something right now, by calling the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or go to VeteransCrisisLine.net. You can also encourage them to text 838255 for confidential support 24/7.
Sadly, we know many homeless veterans who do not want or accept the help that is offered to them. But all we can do is be prepared with the tools and resources that help get these men and women back on their feet. We hope you are too!