Give Back To Those Who Sacrificed: Ways To End End Veteran Homelessness
Homelessness has existed in the US throughout time. Despite housing being a fundamental human right, a lot of people experience homelessness. Veterans form a huge percentage of homeless people in America. After sacrificing and risking their lives for the nation, they don’t even get an appropriate “thank you”. Being stationed in locations inside war zones, it becomes difficult for them to adjust inside homeless shelters and share a space with different kinds of people. They can’t be blamed for it. That said, according to various stats, the number of homeless veterans has increased over the years. This is also the reason why the number of veterans’ homeless suicides supersedes every year. It’s definitely sad and disheartening. If we don’t do anything about it today, we won’t be setting a good example for our youths, we won’t have enough people to serve the nation, and ultimately, no nation to serve.
Therefore, it’s more important now more than ever that people from all walks of life come together to find a solution to end veteran homelessness and prevent suicides. To contribute towards the cause, in this article, we’ve listed some ways to help homeless veterans.
Research About The Right Kind Of Programs
If you spend some time on the internet searching about programs aimed at helping homeless veterans, you will come across various initiatives started by the government and private companies. Once you do, make a list of all the programs so that you can share adequate information with people you work, study, and work out with.
To encourage more people to help you with the cause, it’s crucial that you educate yourself and others around you. You can also work collaboratively with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to volunteer for their programs and do good for the veteran community. Also, donate to veteran organizations and charities designed to assist the veteran population. Ensure these funds are being utilized for the cause.
Provide Access To Affordable Housing
A lot of organizations run supportive housing, rapid re-housing, and affordable housing solutions for veterans. They aim at encouraging property owners, landlords, and estate agents to help veterans acquire housing without any hassles. These programs also help veterans with disabilities find permanent housing solutions without having to go through the entire home-buying process and the documentation associated with it.
Become a part of these programs. Join hands with these organizations and help them grow their community. Aid your efforts by marketing these programs across all social media platforms. Motivate people around you to contribute any way they can — whether it’s collaborating with an estate company or spreading the word around. Every effort counts.
Coordinate Housing Efforts
Build a community dedicated to helping veterans find houses. Raise funds and hire people to help homeless veterans navigate housing options. Work hard on being found, so much so that everyone in the nation knows about your initiative. Help TOJ Tiny Home Homeless Project raise money through events and informative drives so that we can build tiny homes for homeless veterans. You can also help us create a helpful ecovillage community for them by organizing team-building activities and events. Permanent Supportive Housing is as easy as it sounds. We build permanent homes for homeless veterans so that they don’t have to worry about moving from one shelter to another after a certain amount of time. Homeless veterans don’t just need shelters, they need support and love to live peacefully.
Furthermore, you can ease the transition to permanent housing by helping them with the paperwork, documentation, and legal requirements. When working towards the cause, make a list of all the homeless veterans you know so that everyone can be benefitted from the programs.
Collect Items For Their New Homes
Veterans getting temporary/ permanent housing solutions are often in need of move-in essentials. They need beds, mattresses, coffee tables, refrigerators, microwaves, and other household items and appliances to make the space “homely”. And these items cost a lot. This is why they are unable to afford them.
So, gather household items and distribute them to the homeless veterans. Donate everything that you don’t need/ use anymore. Ask your friend, family, and co-workers to do the same. The chances are likely, if so many people come together to donate stuff, you will be able to collect a lot of items. For the other things, you can raise funds or collaborate with a provider to make a charitable donation.
Additionally, help homeless veterans secure rental fees, security deposits, and other costs associated with moving in. They may have found a place to call “home”, but they need financial assistance and stability as well. This brings us to the next point.
(P.S- When discarding stuff, make sure they are in a decent condition.)
Look For Veteran Hiring Programs And Initiatives
Promote veteran employment. Tap into the connections you have, and encourage them to hire homeless veterans for the jobs that suit their skillset. If you run a business yourself, identify people in VSOs (Veteran Serving Organizations) whose skill set, value, mission aligns with your business.
You can also approach various organizations looking to hire veterans. Help set interviews and recommend people for the post they are hiring for. Sourcing, hiring, and retaining veteran talent does not have to be a high-cost proposition. You can also help them secure jobs by designing their resumes, applying to companies on their behalf, and preparing them for the interviews.
Participate In Stand-Downs Hosted By The Government
Local VA Medical centers host various outreach programs aimed at helping veterans get healthcare benefits. You can pitch famous MNCs to collaborate with the government and make this event one to remember. So besides medical help, homeless veterans can get access to everything they may otherwise be denied.
Like affordable educational courses, career development opportunities, and access to specialized benefits that the organizations might offer for the veterans
Introduce Them To The Local Community
Sure, you can help them settle in their homes and also support the move-in costs. But how would you make them feel comfortable within the community they live in? Host events, parties, and gatherings so that the veterans can get to know their neighbors, create bonds with them, and eventually, build a happy community.
In a community, they can feel understood and find support. Veterans live a much more difficult life than we do, that too, mostly away from home, away from family, away from love. They certainly become strong enough to experience emotionally/ physically challenging times, but those experiences may make them vulnerable and numb to certain emotions. Therefore, living in a tight-knit community can bring them love, hope, and freedom. Although, they may find it difficult to gel well with people at first. But once they start sharing their experiences, life lessons, they can allow healing to begin. And you never know, they might actually appreciate the company.
Educate Veterans About Their Legal Rights
One thing that can end veteran homelessness is access to free or low-cost legal advice. If you are a lawyer, you can educate them about their rights. If not, you could ask your lawyer friend to help them. You can also consult government/ private lawyers that are willing to help veterans get housing, legal protection, medical benefits, and general legal counseling. Providing legal aid to homeless veterans will help break down barriers that prevent them from getting the services they need and earned.
Such an initiative can boost their confidence and motivate them to do better in life.
Challenge The Nation To Do Better
VA updates its project for homeless veterans every year according to the evolving needs. But sometimes, they fail to identify the drawbacks of the system. But your input could prove to be very helpful.
Host an event and invite lawyers, service providers catering to the homeless veterans, citizens, and homeless veterans you are trying to help. Unite them in a setting where everyone is able to raise the problems concerning the current measures set by the government and come together to meet the changing needs of homeless veterans. Before you decide to do this, research effectively.
Many people assume that since there are various government programs curated to help homeless veterans, there is no pressing need to do more. However, that’s totally incorrect. Ending veteran homelessness takes the contribution of a lot of people. One person’s effort can definitely change the world, but it may take a long time before changes are implemented. This means, more veterans will have to suffer.
As mentioned earlier, statistics show an increase in the number of homeless veterans. These stats aren’t even accurate. Do you want to know why? Some veterans fail to take advantage of safety nets. Veterans deserve help in any way they can. We must express our gratitude for those who risked their lives and put our safety first.
It’s important for us to come together as a nation, as a community. Our community-based efforts will definitely help veterans see light at the end of the tunnel and bring a day when no veteran will be without a home. Give this article a thorough read and be the change you want to see in the world.