Let’s agree on this; Veteran Homelessness is a phrase we should never need to utter. For a multitude of reasons, some Veterans have become endangered of losing their permanent housing or have lost it all together. Once that final step has happened, the Veteran enters the spiral of a whirlpool that is almost impossible to recover from without outside support and help. 

Let me introduce to you a multi-element program named Homes for all Veterans that is led by Veterans Affairs (VA). The grant funding allows Homes For All Veterans to provide outreach, case management and access to community resources to more than 1,000 Veteran households each year who are either homeless or in danger of homelessness throughout the state of Colorado and southern Wyoming.

 

The most important portion of the program vision is to end Veteran Homelessness as Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Houston has. Quite a lofty goal indeed! However, this goal is attainable through the resources provided by the VA, HUD, local governments, plus the hard work of community service nonprofits just like the VFW. 

Functional Zero is attainable in the Pikes Peak Region! That means we will not have a homeless Veteran who is homeless who does not want to be homeless within 10 days of initial contact.

Two cities in Colorado have received grants for action agencies to take on Veteran Homelessness and they are funded by a $1 Million HUD grant each. Each city will see $1 Million this year, next year, and the following year. Yes, $6 million in grant funds for both cities that will be spent in Colorado to end Veteran Homelessness and sustain the end of Veteran Homelessness for the future! Grant money almost always has strings attached that control what can or cannot be bought with the money. In our case, we look towards the Colorado area action agencies and non-profits to assist and provide where there are holes.

One of the holes we need to fill is getting out in the homeless camps and areas to determine whom amongst the homeless are Veterans. So far the most effective method we have seen is the approach taken in Colorado Springs. Volunteers have accompanied the Colorado Springs Police Homeless Outreach team (HOT) into the homeless camps and parks to connect with homeless Veterans. The Volunteers and the HOT have been very successful on gaining access to the unique social networking amongst the Homeless. We need your help once or twice a month to work with the Police and the lead program agency during daylight hours finding homeless Veterans. Please call Craig Schlattmann of Rocky Mountain Human Services at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information and to volunteer.

Next, once we get a homeless Veteran on the way to stable housing, he or she will need a Home Startup Kit which is largely a clothes basket filled with housing items that the HUD and VA grant cannot buy or be bought with food stamp funds. The Home Starter Kit suggested list is found here.

Home Starter Kit suggested Inventory

Perhaps your VFW Post or organization will assemble a kit and store it until called upon to deploy it to a newly housed Veteran? The cost of the kit is about $50 and Relief Fund money can be used to fund it. Just let us know your Post or organization has a Home Starter Kit ready to deploy and we’ll make sure it doesn’t stay very long and gets into the hands of a Veteran on the path towards stability.

Is service towards Veterans one of the reasons you joined the VFW? This is your call, volunteer to help find homeless Veterans and or put together a Home Start Kit at your Post or organization. This can be one of the rewarding projects you have taken part in as a VFW member and as a member of your community!

 

Steve Kjonaas

State Jr. Vice Commander

Veterans of Foreign Wars, Colorado 


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