Military Life January 16, 2020

Helping Homeless Veterans Put the "Home" Back in Homecoming

Amanda S., Editor

Veterans sacrifice a tremendous amount for their country, so they should never have to be without a place they can call home. While statistics show that Veteran homelessness across the country has decreased in the last year, it is still a tragic reality for many. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a host of programs and benefits to help at-risk and homeless Veterans get back on their feet and ultimately make a successful transition from military to civilian life. Apart from housing programs, Veterans may also access health care services, obtain income assistance and get help finding a job.

VA Programs for Homeless Veterans

Homeless Veterans in need of guidance and resources can drop into any VA medical center to speak to a Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Coordinator to discuss temporary and permanent housing solutions. Helpful programs include:

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)
  • Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)
  • Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program
  • Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV) Program

QuickAlert: Food stamps are provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and most homeless people are eligible to receive them. Call the SNAP toll-free number at 800-221-5689 to find out more about enrolment in the program.

Even if there is money coming in, that doesn't mean it will stretch to cover a struggling family's needs. The VA operates monthly benefit programs, including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and more, that can help Veterans cover living expenses for themselves and their families. Speaking to a case manager at a local VA facility is the best way to determine eligibility for these benefits and to get help applying.

Finding Employment

The transition from military to civilian life can take some adjustment, but finding new employment can present a real challenge for some. American Job Centers offer a multitude of free services, including access to phones, computers, the Internet and printers; job-search counseling; educational training and referrals to support services (housing, child care, transportation, etc.).

CRRCs & Vet Centers

Community Resource and Referral Centers (CRRCs) work like a one-stop shop, offering at-risk and homeless Veterans a multitude of services. Veterans can obtain help with housing, mental health and career development. Veterans who have served in combat zones can access outreach and readjustment counseling services at Vet Centers. To speak to a Vet Center staff member, call the VA Readjustment Counseling Service Call Center 24/7 at: 877-WAR-VETS (827-8387). Services are free of charge and include the following:

  • Group and individual counseling
  • Marital and family counseling
  • Medical referral
  • Bereavement counseling
  • Employment counseling
  • Military sexual trauma (MST) and referral
  • Information and referral to community services

If you are a Veteran struggling with homelessness or know someone who is, call the Veterans Crisis Line Hotline at: 800-273-TALK (8255) or the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans Hotline at: 877-4AID-VET (424-3838) to connect with a counselor today.

For more information on military life topics, browse the QuickSeries® library of guides, including Military Payday: Income & Entitlements and Finding a Job After Service

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