As the holidays draw nearer and we make our plans to be with family and friends, let’s not forget the homeless vets. Our brothers and sisters who have nowhere and no one to share these happy times with.
A recent HUD poll showed that there are 49,933 homeless veterans in America today (32,048 living in shelters, 17,885 on the streets), making up about 33% of the total homeless population. There are approximately 1253 in Massachusetts. The figures showed a decrease in the last few years, but unfortunately there are always newcomers to the ranks. It’s disheartening to see any person homeless but it’s particularly painful when he or she proudly displays the service they have given that we all might live the American dream.
HOW CAN I HELP?
There are several avenues of opportunity for you to be of assistance.
- Go out on the streets and meet them, offer any assistance you might be able to give, a hot coffee, cheeseburger, a ride to a shelter. What seems like nothing to us can make a world of difference to them.
- Donate anything you’re capable of giving. Shelters are always in need of clothing and bed linen, if you like to garden drop some vegetables or fruit. Or if you’re uncertain what’s needed donate time, everyone needs a friend to talk to or play a game with. If none of these fit your abilities a few dollars in the till is always appreciated.
- Check with your local Veterans’ Representative or VA office to see what volunteer programs there are.
If you or someone you know is a homeless Vet in need of housing assistance here are a few organizations that can help.
- Veterans, Inc. Address: 69 Grove Street Worcester, MA 01605 Telephone: 800-482-2565 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: Veterans, Inc.; Housing Programs; Housing application; FAQs
- New England Center for Homeless Veterans, Inc. Address: 17 Court Street Boston, MA 02108 Telephone: 617-371-1800 E-mail: email@example.com Web site: New England Center for Homeless Veterans; Programs and Support Services; FAQs
- Veterans Transition House (Southeastern Massachusetts Veterans Housing Program) Address: 20 Willis Street New Bedford, MA 02740 Telephone: 508-992-5313 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: Veterans Transition House; Veteran’s Assistance Programs
- Soldier On 421 North Main Street, Building 6 Leeds, MA 01053 Telephone: 413-584-4040 x2287 (intake coordinator) E-mail: email@example.com or Contact Us Form Web site: Soldier On; Admissions; What We Do
What are shelters for veterans?
Shelters for veterans are often part of a continuum of housing programs for homeless veterans that include emergency shelter, transitional programs, long-term supportive housing, and independent living.
What services are available at veterans shelters?
Veterans shelters offer emergency housing and meals, as well as a wide range of medical and social services.
Am I eligible?
In general, you are eligible to go to a veterans shelter if you are homeless and you are a veteran of the U.S. military. All veterans shelters are alcohol and drug free.
How do I apply?
At a veterans shelter:
If you are a homeless veteran, you may contact or go to a veterans’ shelter directly for assistance. Veterans shelters are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (veterans shelter locations)
Homeless veterans hotline:
You may also contact the Department of Veterans Affairs for assistance (available 24/7):
Help for Homeless Veterans hotline: 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838)
In closing I would like to thank you for any and all support you can or have given to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Happy Thanks Giving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.