WASHINGTON — This year, Veterans Day also marks the first day of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, an annual initiative to educate the public on how they can help fix the critical but solvable problems of homelessness and food insecurity.
In recognition of this community-driven initiative, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is hosting 24 Stand Downs in communities from Hampton, Virginia, to Hanford, California, beginning Nov. 11 and running through Nov. 19.
Stand Downs are one- to three-day events that provide homeless Veterans and Veterans at risk of homelessness with access to a broad range of services and supplies — such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings and benefits counseling — all in one convenient location. These collaborative events are coordinated by local VA medical centers, other government agencies and community-based homeless service providers to create a one-stop shop for the support services Veterans need to successfully exit homelessness.
“By reducing homelessness among Veterans by nearly 50 percent since 2010, we have made significant progress in ensuring every Veteran has a place to call home, but there is more to be done,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Every community can help Veterans in need — not just during National Veterans and Military Families Month or this week – but seven days a week, 365 days a year. VA will not rest until every Veteran has access to safe, permanent housing.”
Since 2010, ongoing efforts to assist Veterans who lack stable housing have resulted in a 47 percent reduction in homelessness among Veterans. As a result of the collaborative efforts of VA and its federal, state, and local partners, three states — Connecticut, Delaware and Virginia — and more than 50 communities have effectively ended Veteran homelessness so far.
To learn more about VA programs and services that help Veterans exit homelessness and remain stably housed, visit www.va.gov/homeless. Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness should visit their local VA Medical Center or contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).