Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
Team AMVETS' Story
A Partner Success Story in Ending Veteran Homelessness
California-Based Organization Provides Formerly Homeless Veterans With Furniture, Appliances and More
Team AMVETS' Story | Jan. 8, 2016
The departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) successfully collaborate in California—and in all states—to provide eligible Veterans who are homeless with vouchers that support permanent housing. HUD–VA Supportive Housing (HUD–VASH) vouchers are particularly crucial to ending Veteran homelessness in the Golden State, where nearly one–quarter of our nation’s homeless Veterans live. Although they are critical in making rental units affordable, HUD–VASH vouchers alone may not be enough. That’s because available housing is often unfurnished, and some Veterans lack the ability to pay for furniture and basic essentials to make their new houses feel like homes.
Enter Team AMVETS Department of California Service Foundation, which is working to ensure that newly housed Veterans have what they need to transform otherwise empty residences into comfortable, dignified living spaces.
Team AMVETS does this through Welcome Home, a program started in November 2012 to provide HUD-VASH voucher recipients with furniture, appliances and other household items. The program was a natural fit for the California-based nonprofit, which earns revenue from the sale of goods at numerous thrift stores, and already supported Veterans through a variety of programs.
“The first Welcome Home delivery was made the week of Thanksgiving 2012,” said Team AMVETS Veteran Outreach Manager Sharon Elefant. “From that day forward, we’ve looked at every Welcome Home delivery as an opportunity to thank our Veterans for their service and provide them with a fresh start.”
Through Welcome Home, Team AMVETS collects and delivers any number of items to Veterans in need, including beds, sheets, pillows and blankets; bedroom, living room and dining room furniture; pots and pans; towels and rugs; and even appliances like refrigerators.
Since it began, the Welcome Home Program has generated real results. From November 2012 through November 2015, Team AMVETS has made more than 2,300 deliveries to Veterans and their families throughout California, including in San Diego County, Orange County, Long Beach, Greater Los Angeles and Fresno. In that three–year period, the program delivered a total of 29,511 items valued at $1,107,163.
“We are very proud of what we’ve been able to provide with the help of our community, government and corporate supporters,” Elefant said, “but we know that we still have many more Veterans to help, and we look forward to this program’s continued success.” As VA and HUD continue to house homeless Veterans nationwide, Team AMVETS officials say they are committed to welcoming all California HUD–VASH voucher recipients home with the furnishings and other household essentials that they need.
Learn more about Team AMVETS at www.teamamvets.com.
Team AMVETS helps transform an empty apartment into a furnished home for a California Veteran and his family.
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