NAA Supports Efforts to Help End Homelessness Among Veterans
NAA is supporting an effort by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness to end veterans’ homelessness across the country. This is an achievable goal but there is more work to do to ensure that every Veteran is stably housed or on the pathway to permanent housing.
Every NAA member can do something to help end homelessness among Veterans. Here are eight ways that you or your company can lend your support, resources and voice to this cause:
1. Connect Veterans to the Veterans Administration (VA). VA can help Veterans who are homeless. If you encounter Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, encourage them to call or visit their local VA Medical Center, where VA staff are ready to assist. Veterans and their families can also access VA services by calling 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838).
2. Make a commitment. Set aside a certain number of apartments each year for Veterans who are homeless. Agree to house Veterans both eligible and ineligible for Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers and supportive services.
3. Help with Veterans’ security deposits and move-in costs. Just because Veterans have a HUD-VASH voucher doesn’t mean they have the resources to move in or furnish their homes. Join with community partners like Veterans Matter that raise funds to help Veterans secure first and last months’ rent, security deposits and move-in essentials so they can exit homelessness as quickly as possible and make their house a home.
4. Work with the VA Voluntary Services Office of your local VA Medical Center. Find or enlist other organizations in your area to provide security deposits, furniture, cookware and other move-in essentials for Veterans exiting homelessness. Check with VA Voluntary Service (VAVS) to see if there are ways to help.
5. Participate in a Stand Down. Stand Downs connect Veterans in need with supplies and services that lead to permanent housing. Chances are one is happening in your community. Consider contacting your area organizer to find out how to volunteer.
6. Work with VA to recruit and hire Veterans exiting homelessness. Veterans have diverse experience, knowledge and abilities that are applicable to many different fields and levels of employment. Contact your local community employment coordinator to find out if job-ready Veterans exiting homelessness in your area have skills that fit your job openings.
7. Start a conversation. Keep the issue of ending Veteran homelessness front and center. Every post, tweet or conversation about the issue builds to promote change. Discuss ending Veteran homelessness among your friends, families and coworkers and urge them to get involved. Share your many stories of success. Follow VA on social media.
8. Get involved in other ways. Explore VA’s Ending Veteran Homelessness website to learn about VA programs for Veterans who are homeless. You can also visit VA’s “Get Involved” page to download outreach toolkits and information and share them with others. And be sure to check out the NAA Center for Housing Policy’s June 2015 report on tailoring housing services for a diverse Veteran population.
No Veteran who wore the uniform should be without a safe, stable home. By taking action in ways large and small, NAA members can help end homelessness among Veterans, once and for all. With specific questions about how to get involved in these or other efforts to end homelessness among Veterans, email VA’s homeless Veterans’ outreach team.