Recently, Delaware announced that all homeless veterans had obtained permanent housing, reaching a statewide goal of enormous proportions. Although Delaware is the second smallest state in the U.S., it is home to a large concentration of veterans, with many concentrated around Dover Air Force Base. Being able to eradicate homelessness by helping veterans to become self-sufficient is not only commendable, but it is also a goal that could soon be duplicated in other states around the nation. To do this, educators who have completed their social work degrees at Rutgers Online and other colleges with a history of positive works in the veteran’s community will need to start putting their minds together.
1. Identifying Federal Resources
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a large fund set up to help veterans who are either already homeless, facing homeless, and have an immediate need for safe shelter. While many people might think that the VA is only available to older veterans who served in Korea, WW II or Vietnam, the fact of the matter is that any former or current U.S. service member who ever saw active duty may qualify for help. Those we are involved in social work and PTSD with veterans have firsthand knowledge of number of veterans who served in Iraq and were deployed to Afghanistan, and the mental health issues that may be affecting their home lives.
2. Mobilizing Local Veterans Affairs Agencies
Apart from federal agencies that are helping veterans facing homelessness, there are also many different state agencies serving the veteran’s community as well. When initiating social work help with veterans, it is important to first identify each client’s most pertinent and immediate needs. There is no sense in focusing on issues such as job training if you are not first able to get your client into a safe and secure home. In cities such as Los Angeles, there is a large population of homeless veterans who the city is having trouble placing. Unfortunately, this situation is not only happening in Los Angeles.
3. Reaching Out To Local Community Leaders
Many people have family members who proudly served and protected the U.S., and they can fully understand the need to get adequate housing for each and every displaced veteran. Although their efforts may not be as grand as what other larger, federal, state level and non-profit groups are capable of achieving the support of the community is also integral for eradicating veteran homelessness.
4. Educating the Public on Veterans Issues
Veterans facing homelessness may not be getting all the help that they need because many people may not understand that the issue even exists. If social workers are better able to let the public know that veterans need homes consisting of subsidized housing and the aid of giving individuals, there may be fewer veterans out on the streets.
These steps are not going to get every homeless veteran into a safe home immediately, but they will help. Also, make sure that each veteran who reaches out for help gets a fast response, so that they don’t feel disenchanted.