Recently, Executive Director Bart Johnson and Deputy Executive Director Jim McMahon met with Dr. Susan Angell, Executive Director of the Homeless Veterans Initiative Office at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to discuss a new partnership between the VA and IACP to help end Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. This partnership is part of the VA’s nationwide effort to enhance awareness of and access to VA programs that help Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of losing their homes.
As a first responder in a leadership position, you have the power to identify Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, and to raise awareness about the resources available to them.
Here are some ways you can help VA help Veterans:
- Watch this video for first responders to find out how to help Veterans who are struggling to get back on track, and share it with your colleagues: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t-pX_m45A8
- Ask members of your community who lack safe, stable housing if they served in the military. If they did, encourage them to Make the Call to 877-4AID-VET or chat online at www.va.gov/homeless. You can also call the hotline on behalf of any Veterans you may encounter. The hotline and online chat are free, confidential, and available 24/7. Trained responders, many Veterans themselves, can connect Veterans with the services they’ve earned.
- Order free materials that promote the hotline and other VA services for Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Visit www.va.gov/homeless/materials_center.asp to order brochures, wallet cards, and tear cards to keep in your cruiser in case you encounter someone who needs support.
As you work to keep individuals and families in your community safe, remember we can all do something to help end Veteran homelessness.