By Rachel Engel
According to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimate, there are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans on any given day. Through the government and numerous organizations there are a number of programs to help combat the epidemic of veterans on the streets. Do you know someone who is prior-military and needs a little help? Find an organization from the list below, or look locally; there are often options for veterans through community governments.
Final Salute Inc.
As an organization that focuses on female veterans, Final Salute has provided housing options, financial assistance and employment help to thousands of women. Through their Housing Outreach Mentorship Encouragement (HOME) program, they help women meet basic human needs such as housing, clothes, food and transportation, as well as childcare subsidies.
Home for Our Heroes
HFOH builds custom homes for service members wounded overseas at no cost to the veteran. With over 40 different adaptabilities, each house is specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual and accommodate his or her disability. Eligible members must be approved for the Specially Adapted Housing Grant by the VA, and those chosen are based on level of injury—selectees are usually multiple amputees, those with full or partial paralysis, or suffering from a severe TBI. HFOH provides home that would otherwise be out of reach for veterans, providing them with a level of care that would otherwise be out of their price range, allowing them to live life to the fullest extent, regardless of their injury.
Operation Homefront Transitional Housing Program
Through the program provided by Operation Homefront, veterans and their families are able to live rent-free while working with counselors, financial advisers and attending workshops for resume building to help them get their life back on track after leaving the service. Living spaces are fully furnished and come with all the basics of home to enjoy as the service member learns to become self-sufficient; the end-of-program goals are an emergency fund, working VA benefits and job prospects, along with suitable housing.
These three charities have proven to help service members get back on their feet after the transition from military to civilian life leave them in a bad place. Along with organizations like those above, the VA offers assistance to homeless veterans through crisis hotlines and assistance programs like the Health Care for Homeless Veterans, which this summer expanded the criteria under which it could assist veterans through.
Do you know a veteran who is homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless? Look into the guidelines for each of the charities listed above, and see if they could benefit from the programs offered. Those who have signed the line to sacrifice in service to the country should never find themselves on the street, and with effort, compassion and time, and with help from programs like these, maybe the homeless veteran epidemic will no longer be a problem one day.