Homeless Veterans Resources
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.
- 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."
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."
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
Donating to the Homeless
In which way(s) have you tried to help those that are homeless?
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.
"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief is a thing that makes it happen."
Frank Lloyd Wright
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
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:
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 VetsClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
- Apply for Veterans Benefits Online
This portal is a one-stop shop for benefits-related online tools and information for Wounded Warriors, Veterans, Service members, Family of Service Members, and those who care for them.
- My HealtheVet - The Gateway to Veteran Health and Wellness
My HealtheVet (MHV) is the gateway to veteran health benefits and services. Save time and money by going online to get info for your appointments and refilling your VA prescriptions. Must sign up in person at the VA first.
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?