11/13/2013 9:49:00 AM Editorial All veterans deserve roof overhead
As we look back on this year's Veterans Day - thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for giving so much to us - that any of our veterans who have served America, whether at home or in one of our wars are homeless, frankly is unconscionable.
Reasons any of them are on the streets vary from individual to individual, but when we put them in a group as "homeless," the numbers are astounding.
In 2012, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shineski pledged stepped-up housing and healthcare services for homeless veterans, with a goal of ending homelessness for our veterans by 2015.
That's little more than a year away and a hefty goal to meet.
Nevertheless, the more we keep our attention focused on our veterans who need help, we have a chance to get more and more of them off the streets.
One such effort is the Northern Arizona Veterans Resource Center that has opened its doors to homeless vets with offices in Prescott, Flagstaff and Bullhead City.
This became possible through a $2 million grant from the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program.
According to the SSVF website, under this program, the Veterans Administration awards grants to private nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives that can provide supportive services to very low-income veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing.
Grantees provide eligible veteran families with outreach, case management, and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits that may include services for healthcare, daily living, personal financial planning, transportation, childcare, and housing counseling, along with fiduciary, payee and legal issues.
In addition, grantees may also provide time-limited payments to third parties (e.g., landlords, utility companies, moving companies, and licensed childcare providers) if these payments help veteran families stay in or acquire permanent housing on a sustainable basis.
Arizona site director Tom Isakson said the local program hopes to serve more than 700 veterans with needs ranging from rent and utility payments to employment training, all bold measures to help veterans get back on their feet. He added that the center's goal is to find housing and stabilize a veteran's housing crisis within 90 days.
Here is what our homeless veterans need to know - an assurance that it's all right for veterans to admit they are in trouble and come forward and ask for help to become self-reliant.
This is where the rest of us in the community can do something to turn a sad situation around.
We all need to be on the lookout for a troubled vet and encourage him or her to seek guidance from organizations, such as the Northern Arizona Veterans Resource Center. The center's number is 928-776-0766.
If we all work together, we just might make that goal for 2015 - an end to homeless veterans.