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Lend a Helping Hand – How to Aid Homeless Veterans at the Holidays

Veteran Homelessness
Veteran Homelessness
December 1, 2023
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Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that over 33,000 veterans were homeless, though that number varies month by month. That number is roughly equivalent to the crew of SEVEN Ford class aircraft carriers, which only makes the situation worse when you consider that veteran homelessness is down 55.3% since 2010. The issue often receives media attention and therefore is often used as a political football, but the systems needed to eradicate this problem are not yet up to the task.

Serious work needs to be done at the highest level, no one can argue that point. We as citizens however must do what we can to fill the gap in the meantime, to provide some relief and comfort to those who served and need the sacrifice honored. In that spirit as well as the spirit of the holidays, here are a few ways we can help.

Volunteering at Shelters and Food Banks

Collecting canned goods and old coats is a help, but what most charitable organizations or community groups really need are bodies. People to cook, clean, run errands, or maybe just help with talking to people who look like they could use a good conversation. Serving food or organizing shelters are ways to make a meaningful impact on lives in your communities.

The second half of that coin is to remember that dignity means a great deal to all of us, and veterans especially so. A little patience can go a long way towards putting people at ease, which could lead to more ways to help them in the future.

Offering Labor or Services

If working in these situations is difficult, you can volunteer time to do repair work, build housing, or offer up time in an area you’re uniquely suited for. In some places, insufficient shelter can be dangerous for the winter months, leading to exposure related casualties. Ensuring that some of these places can be made livable, if not preferable, will go a long way toward finding a positive ending that can be achieved.

Get Involved with a Non-Profit Organization

Designed to resist the wasted resources and corruption of for-profit entities, there are a great many of these groups that do the work of coordinating efforts and managing personnel to execute larger scale projects. Family Promise and the Coalition for the Homeless, charities like Covenant House, StandUp for Kids, and the U.S. Veterans Initiative are all very highly rated and effective organizations.

The Grunt Style Foundation is currently running food insecurity relief programs for military personnel and veterans, as well as advocating for the homeless veteran population. As more and more of us step forward to lend a hand, the more effective these programs will become. One day we can solve the problem for good: until that time, it’s up to us.

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