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Homeless Veterans Resources

Updated on October 8, 2014

Homeless Vets and resources like transitional housing to help end homelessness

Resources for Homeless Veterans (Vets) has become a priority with the Obama Administration. Did you know that about a third of all adult homeless men and almost one-quarter of all homeless adults have served in the Military? Did you know that there are over 15,000 female homeless vets across the United States, many with minor children?

President Obama and Secretary Shinseki are working on a 5 year plan to end Veteran Homelessness by 2015. If you are a homeless vet yourself, or you want to know how to help, I am sure you will find something here of value. If not, please let me know, and I will do my best to find it for you.

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  • Image Credits:Homeless Vietnam Vet Photo, and Photo of Baby by Kathy McGraw and Photos of Homeless Female Veterans from the Stand Down are copyright of R. Freeman used with permission.

"In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity."

Albert Einstein

Going from Homeless to Transitional Housing

How I went from owning a business to becoming homeless

About a year ago I wrote about losing my home, and how it felt not knowing where I was going to go or what I was going to do, I had gone from Middle Class to Poverty to Homeless (article below), but then I was able to get somewhere to live. It turned out not to be a stable situation, and again I was wondering what to do. That's when the VA told me about a program they had.

I was told about a program for Homeless Women Veterans, and they suggested I go there, but it took another few months before I could mentally even make that decision. It wasn't until "they" told me I was depressed that I actually took a look at my situation. Yes, I was having some serious medical and dental issues which led to financial issues, but depressed? When "they" told me they wanted to check me out for depression I immediately said, "no, I'm not depressed. It's just a situational depression". Looking back now I am amazed at my comment of "but I don't want to be depressed!" That's when I agreed that things had spiraled out of control, and yes, they could call the transitional housing program for me. I had given up! It didn't look like I was being very successful at doing it myself, so maybe their program would help, and I would have somewhere to stay while I worked things out.

I later learned that there were very few transitional housing programs for women vets, and even less for women with children. The home they sent me to was not what I expected. You know, we all have our own preconceived ideas of what something unfamiliar would be like, and this wasn't it. I had expected it to be like a homeless shelter, but instead it was a single family home with 2 people to a room. A mother and child had their own room, everyone else shared. Another thing I wasn't expecting was I had to supply all my own toiletries, laundry soap, and food. They gave you a bed, that's what they said, "we give you a bed, and a safe place to stay, but the rest is on you."

Homeless Female Vets often have minor children
Homeless Female Vets often have minor children

What is Transitional Housing

Veterans Services for Homeless Vets

If you're a Veteran, or someone you know is, and you want more information on the Transitional Housing Programs, contact the Veterans Homeless Hotline for more info. There are programs for both men and women, although the majority of the programs are for male veterans.

There are many transitional housing programs for veterans, however not all of them are the same. The VA contracted with non-profits to provide temporary long term housing , most for 90 days but some up to 2 years. The programs usually have some sort of case management or substance abuse counseling for those that need it, and although you are in transitional housing, you are still considered homeless because it's not permanent. The majority of the homes are for men, although there are also ones for women, and some that take women with children, or even whole families.

The Veterans Administration (VA) has 3 main goals for their transitional housing program:

1) Permanent housing

2) Stable income through training, education, employment, and/or disability benefits

3) Self-determination

Donating to the Homeless

In which way(s) have you tried to help those that are homeless?

See results

How can you help Homeless Vets?

Help Feed Homeless Vets With The Veterans Site Click to Feed

Remember those click to feed buttons where your click donated a certain amount to whatever group was targeted? The Veterans Site was launched to help feed homeless veterans, and was modeled after other successful programs. It costs you NOTHING, all you have to do is click the button. You can do this one time, or once a day and all clicks are calculated and the funds go to the organizations that help feed veterans. The site generates their income from the ads on it, so all money generated goes to the homeless vets. Go ahead and click, and bookmark this page to come back to if you want to do more.

Items to Donate to the Homeless

Another way to help is by giving homeless vets some of the basic items they need for survival and security. Care Packages for the Homeless are popular whether they're veterans or not. There are several items that are often needed, like beanie caps, hygiene items, socks, power bars, and other small items.

Calirornia's First Homeless Female Veterans Stand Down
Calirornia's First Homeless Female Veterans Stand Down

"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief is a thing that makes it happen."

Frank Lloyd Wright

Calirornia's First Homeless Female Veterans Stand Down
Calirornia's First Homeless Female Veterans Stand Down

California's First Homeless Female Veteran Stand Down

On July 15, 2011 several vendors, the VA, and the Women's Bureau of U.S. Department of Labor held California's first Stand Down for homeless women veterans and their families. Unfortunately they had to change the venue about a week or so before the event, so word didn't get out to everyone and there weren't as many people as they expected.

The good news is that the people that did go got a lot of information, free massages, dental check-ups, hair cuts and manicures, and other things that made them feel special again. One day to forget their problems and get all the information and resources they needed. That's what a Stand Down is, a day to leave all your stress and problems, and be treated with respect and dignity, just like when we were in the Military.

Homeless Vets Can Get Help Here

Toll Free

Call 1-877-424-3838

What is the HUD/VASH Program

going from transitional housing to permanent housing with HUD/VASH

The HUD/VASH Program is a collaborative effort of the Veterans Administration and the Housing Administration for homeless veterans that meet certain criteria:

1) Income

2) Homeless

3) Eligible for health care at a VA Medical Center

The program has evolved from being geared to just the mentally ill and/or substance abusing Veterans to any homeless Vet that meets the programs criteria. The one absolute disqualifying criteria is if anyone in the household is required to maintain Lifetime Sexual Offender Registry status.

The HUD/VASH Program is also known as the HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program. Check with your local VA Medical Center for more information, and if they don't know anything about it call the Homeless Veterans Hotline.

Cal Vets FREE official copies

Veterans in California are NOT required to pay for copies of public records that are needed to file certain claims. There are no fees for marriage, birth, death, or other records if they have a written request from the USDAF or Veterans Service Office.

Stand Down for Homeless Women Vets

Click thumbnail to view full-size
When you're homeless you often forget how being pampered feels.  All women appreciate a manicure, and this is one of the vendors that was at the Homeless Female Veterans Stand Down.Many homeless have dental problems, and a mobile dental clinic is one of the most popular items at the Stand Down's.Homeless Women often have more stress than the homeless men because they also have to worry about sexual assaults, keeping their children safe and other issues.  At the Stand Down there was a group giving massages.Information and resources are hard to find when you're homeless, living on the streets.  There were many information booths and free services for legal consultations, credit repair, financial, employment services.One of the major sponsors of the Homeless Female Veterans Stand Down.Many Homeless Women Vets have children.  There are very few transitional housing programs that take women with children, and in the rural areas of the United States there are even less.Self esteem is one of the first things that go when you are at risk of homelessness, or are actually living on the streets.  The Stand Down had booths for hair cuts, makeup, eyebrows, and hairstyling, all the things that a homeless female often negleThe Women's Bureau of the U. S. Department  of Labor and U.S. Vets, a United States Veterans Initiative were sponsors of the Stand Down in Long Beach, CA.
When you're homeless you often forget how being pampered feels.  All women appreciate a manicure, and this is one of the vendors that was at the Homeless Female Veterans Stand Down.
When you're homeless you often forget how being pampered feels. All women appreciate a manicure, and this is one of the vendors that was at the Homeless Female Veterans Stand Down.
Many homeless have dental problems, and a mobile dental clinic is one of the most popular items at the Stand Down's.
Many homeless have dental problems, and a mobile dental clinic is one of the most popular items at the Stand Down's.
Homeless Women often have more stress than the homeless men because they also have to worry about sexual assaults, keeping their children safe and other issues.  At the Stand Down there was a group giving massages.
Homeless Women often have more stress than the homeless men because they also have to worry about sexual assaults, keeping their children safe and other issues. At the Stand Down there was a group giving massages.
Information and resources are hard to find when you're homeless, living on the streets.  There were many information booths and free services for legal consultations, credit repair, financial, employment services.
Information and resources are hard to find when you're homeless, living on the streets. There were many information booths and free services for legal consultations, credit repair, financial, employment services.
One of the major sponsors of the Homeless Female Veterans Stand Down.
One of the major sponsors of the Homeless Female Veterans Stand Down.
Many Homeless Women Vets have children.  There are very few transitional housing programs that take women with children, and in the rural areas of the United States there are even less.
Many Homeless Women Vets have children. There are very few transitional housing programs that take women with children, and in the rural areas of the United States there are even less.
Self esteem is one of the first things that go when you are at risk of homelessness, or are actually living on the streets.  The Stand Down had booths for hair cuts, makeup, eyebrows, and hairstyling, all the things that a homeless female often negle
Self esteem is one of the first things that go when you are at risk of homelessness, or are actually living on the streets. The Stand Down had booths for hair cuts, makeup, eyebrows, and hairstyling, all the things that a homeless female often negle
The Women's Bureau of the U. S. Department  of Labor and U.S. Vets, a United States Veterans Initiative were sponsors of the Stand Down in Long Beach, CA.
The Women's Bureau of the U. S. Department of Labor and U.S. Vets, a United States Veterans Initiative were sponsors of the Stand Down in Long Beach, CA.

Important!

The VA's Transitional Housing Program is under the Grant Per Diem Program.You can call the VA crisis chat line 24 hrs a day- Toll Free at 1-800-272-8255 or the Veterans National Homeless Call Center at 1-877-424-3838 for information in your area.

More Resources for Homeless Vets - Some resources for all Vets that need to file a claim, get records, or fill prescriptions, etc

These resources can help either the Vet or their family find the info they might be looking for. Just remember that although there are Vet Advocates, Homeless Coordinators, etc. the work is still tedious. There are forms to fill out, and for disability claims you still have to prove your case. This has been one of the reasons many Vietnam Vets are so angry, all the hoops and inability to "prove" their claim. But don't give up! Find the resources you need and definitely use the services of an advocate as they know the system.

Homelessness is a major issue, and with Veterans there are so many that have served honorably and just need some support to get their lives back. Women Vets make up 5% of the homeless vets and many of us never heard of transitional housing, or about the Obama plan to end homelessness in 5 years.

I hope this information can help many more vets, whether they are homeless male or female. You can help by using the free donate button, buying some of the suggested items, or just by sharing the info provided here. Was this info useful to you?

Comment section on Transitional Housing for Homeless Vets - Comments are very much appreciated

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    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 

      7 years ago

      Kathy, this page is outstanding, very good information. First, a lot of people are not aware of this problem that affects so many families. Then it is good to know that there are support events. I think we all can help all these causes.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 

      7 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      Thank you for this wonderful page of resources for homeless veterans! "Blessed" by a Labor Day SquidAngel.

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 

      7 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Wonderful job on sharing the life of homeless veterans. Blessed.

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 

      7 years ago

      We work the Phoenix Standdown every year, and there are a lot more homeless women coming through the last couple of years. this is a great lens, I hope the information reaches people who will step up. Also, Indianapolis has a fund raiser every year for a program called Trusted Mentors - the mentors help homeless get established into housing and mentor them their 1st year through the adjustment. They have a program called Bags2Riches, and I've donated my designer bags to the program which are voted on in silent auction for a fund raiser. Great ideas for raising the funds. When is your ladies standdown?

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 

      7 years ago

      Excellent resource, Kathy. The current bad economy and high unemployment rate affects everyone, including our veterans.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      This is important and valuable information that you've provided here. I'm sure many people will be helped by it.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Thank you for sharing the information and care. I hope your page will be able to help many in need.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      The problem lies when you have pets and cannot bear to part with them- they are FAMILY and your kids...99 % of shelters will not accept pets and women will endure horrible beatings and death in order to avoid giving up their best friends in the world.

      We need to make sure that EVERY state has shelters for vets and their pets !! (all of them)

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Top notch lens about such an important subject. My man, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and I were actually just talking about homeless veterans recently, a few of whom he's met here in Flagstaff. I'll definitely show him your lens. *Blessed*

    • profile image

      MichaelTJones 

      7 years ago

      People forgotten by their government.

      It's sad, but hey! Just helping out a little bit can make a huge difference to these people.

      Good article, people need to understand the problems these people have.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      A brave, wonderful and positive lens Kathy! Blessed by a passing music angel...

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 

      7 years ago

      This is just beyond my understanding. How can our so-called "civilized" countries have homeless people and not do anything they can to solve such a problem?

      There has been a time when being homeless was a lifestyle from some - those who didn't want to obey the rules of living in our society. But today, anyone can become homeless when some have so much money that they have to kill themselves to find a reason to live.

      And the middle class is obliged to create such tribute lenses that are going to encourage people to donate money.

      Oh if only those wealthy companies were obliged to donate 25% of the money they're supposed to give their lazy, egotist, wealthy shareholders, I'm pretty sure that poverty in our countries would be solved before 2015... I'd even would bet on the end of 2011!

      This is an excellent lens, Kathy!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 

      7 years ago

      Blessed! Excellent lens!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Congratulations on your well deserved Purple Star

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 

      7 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Wonderful resource for Homeless Vets, and enlightening for those who are not so aware of the current situation.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for this great resource. I have known a number of homeless vets and it seems so shameful to our country that we allow this to happen to people who served, who risked their lives for this country and now our government would like to throw them away and hope they die really soon so the gov't can keep the money that should have supported these men and women.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 

      7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      brilliant lens - angel blessed and featured

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      7 years ago

      @M Schaut: How sad and how uncalled for.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      7 years ago

      Kathy, exceptional lens. I'm not an American although I have visited your beautiful country. I'm more often than not appalled as how America has digressed since then. Just what is going on and what can be done about it?

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      7 years ago from UK

      This is such a valuable insight into transitional housing for veterans of the US military services. It's alarming that so many veterans end up homeless and clearly transitional housing is no soft option but it's good to know that it is there as a final safety net for those who need it. I'm sure your article and courage in sharing your own experiences will help many to find that safety net.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 

      7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      This is a very well done and informative page filled with helpful resources for America's homeless vets. Your personal story brings homeless veteran's plights to the forefront. Thank you for sharing and for providing this useful information. I've clicked on the 'Help Veterans' button... and will be back.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Terrific lens! There was a great article in our local paper last Sunday about housing for homeless veterans. What a worthy cause for those who have served our country!

    • profile image

      poutine 

      7 years ago

      What a useful lens. I will include it in my "Project Home" lens.

      Doing to do what I can to get the word out.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 

      7 years ago

      Sometimes people mistakenly think if someone 'lives through war' they are fine (lucky to be alive) and all is okay. What many don't realize is there are things like: survivors guilt, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and even other known (and unknown) toxic exposure they have been exposed to (often causing nervous system and respiratory conditions). People do not always return from serving in a war 'unscathed' and I completely understand why some (many) need our help. They gave their lives for our freedoms - the least we can do is help them heal and return to having all that we enjoy (and take for granted, sometimes). Great lens!

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 

      7 years ago from Detroit

      Vets are finding it increasingly hard to get the benefits they are entitled to, without jumping through so many hoops and over so many hurdles that some just can't get to the finish line. Obama's plan to end Vets homelessness in five years wouldn't ring so hollow if there weren't so many of them losing their homes to bank fraud in the first place. You can't end homelessness if your policies are making millions homeless.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      What a wonderful service you are providing with this informative page. It will serve as a resource to many of our Veterans looking for help. Thank you and thank you for serving.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 

      7 years ago

      An excellent resource, Kathy.

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 

      7 years ago

      It is wonderful to have this information for homeless vets in one place. Both men and women veterans deserve our respect and help. The stand down looks like an amazing event!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 

      7 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I think we have similar problems in this country with homelessness amongst ex-soldiers and it is so outrageous that homelessness should be the fate of men and women who have served their country, some have risked their lives and some have had life changing injuries. This is a really worthwhile cause and you are brave in recounting your own experience.

    • PaulaMorgan profile image

      Paula Morgan 

      7 years ago from Sydney Australia

      I had never really considered the scale of this problem for veterans. This is an excellent resource and great way to highlight this problem.

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