What Can I Do?
The Department of Veterans Affairs is taking decisive action to end Veteran homelessness in five years. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline to ensure Veterans who are homeless or at-risk for homelessness have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors.
The hotline is intended to assist homeless Veterans and their families, VA Medical Centers, federal, state and local partners, community agencies, and service providers in the community.
To be connected with a trained VA staff member call 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838).
What will happen when I call?
Suggestions on how you can help:
Print this story, circle the phone number above and the web address below and give it to the next homeless Veteran you see on the street.
And, yes, we realize someone on the street probably won’t have a phone or access to a computer. You could suggest they use a computer at a library or ask to use the phone at a VA Medical Center or Vet Center…or at one of the many faith-based and charitable organizations or Veteran Service Organizations in their community.
The help is there. You could be the connection to the help for a homeless Veteran. Here is a quick link to the many valuable programs VA has to help end homelessness: www.va.gov/homeless
$300 Million to Expand Homeless Prevention Program
The Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that homelessness among Veterans has been reduced by approximately 7 percent between January 2011 and January 2012.
The decline keeps VA on track to meet the White House goal of ending Veteran homelessness in 2015.
The report, prepared by HUD, estimates there were 62,619 homeless Veterans on a single night in January in the United States, a 7.2 percent decline since 2011 and a 17.2 percent decline since 2009.
VA has made ending Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 a top priority, undertaking an unprecedented campaign to dramatically increase awareness of VA services available for homeless Veterans and Veterans at risk of becoming homeless.
While the number of homeless people in the U.S. dropped by less than one percent, according to the report, Veteran homelessness has shown a more robust decline.
$300 Million for Organizations Helping Homeless Vets
VA also announced the availability of $300 million in grants for community organizations, estimated to serve approximately 70,000 Veterans and their family members facing homelessness. The deadline for applying to the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, a homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing program, is February 1, 2013.
“We…will not be satisfied until no Veteran has to sleep on the street.”
“Homeless prevention grants provide community partners with the opportunity to help prevent and end homelessness on the local level,” said Secretary Shinseki. “This is a crucial tool in getting at-risk Veterans and their families on the road to stable, secure lives.”
SSVF grants promote housing stability among homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families. The grants can have an immediate impact, helping lift Veterans out of homelessness or providing aid in emergency situations that put Veterans and their families at risk of homelessness.
How to Apply for Grants
Through September 2012, SSVF has aided approximately 21,500 Veterans and over 35,000 individuals. Since SSVF is able to help the Veteran’s family, 8,826 children were also assisted, helping Veterans keep their families housed and together.
Grantees provide a range of supportive services to very low-income Veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing, including case management, legal assistance, financial counseling, transportation, child care, rent, utilities and other services aimed at preventing homelessness.
Community organizations can get more information about Supportive Services for Veteran Families. There is also a video with guidance for applying. Community organizations seeking more information on the SSVF program may also contact VA at 1-877-737-0111 or at SSVF@va.gov.
Secretary: No Veteran on the Street
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said, “This report continues a trend that clearly indicates we are on the right track in the fight to end homelessness among Veterans. While this is encouraging news, we have more work to do and will not be satisfied until no Veteran has to sleep on the street.
“The success we have achieved is directly attributable to the hard work by all of our staff, and the federal, state, and community partners who are committed to ending Veteran homelessness.”