Most of the homeless vets I have talked to recently have told me that they would not take advantage of the chance to get off the streets that HUD and other government agencies is offering them now. Reasons range from not wanting to be in a building with other homeless people that may have more serious problems then them (and having to deal with those people and their problems) to just not seeing the need or not wanting to put up some of their money for rent.
As a person who has been wanting a break like this for the last 4 years (but, the ‘house the middle aged homeless person, who has no criminal record, but is under paid and living in an over priced tourist trap area program’ hasn’t yet been developed by the government), I wonder about how much money will be thrown at this program before people just give up and decide that it won’t help as many people as they had hoped it would. Here are some suggestions that will bridge the gap between what Uncle Sam is offering and what just might be what the vets need:
* Renovate buildings in urban areas and make them resource centers for homeless vets. These centers can include places to get clothes, food (food banks), employment info, social services/sobriety programs, computer training, etc. These buildings can be a good place to offer rooms to vets who want to get off the streets because of illness or hospital discharge. And for those who have had it with living on the streets, they can be a place to connect with to get an apartment or room.
* For places where there is not much snow, having colonies of tiny homes (see Welcome to the Small Time for posts about this), that give each person a shelter that is more sturdy than a tent and can be put up quickly; perhaps in forested areas that need clearing and maintainance. Community kitchens, dining areas, laundry, and lavotory/showers can be built and kept up by the residents. It would be something like the living that they had been doing in the service and they could be paid for work that they do to upkeep the forest or national park area.
Of course, those vets who have been recently discharged form the service will benefit most from the housing programs that are currently being offered, but for the guys who have been living on the streets for a long time, the two other options listed above might make more sense for them.
The helping homeless vets article below is very informative.
- Number of Homeless Vets Down Sharply (newser.com)
- Social Innovation – Helping Homeless Vets (lenbrzozowski.wordpress.com)
- New veterans program gives apprenticeships to homeless vets (rapidcityjournal.com)
- San Antonians sleep in their cars is support of homeless vets (khou.com)
- Former prison to become site for homeless vets (denverpost.com)
- Groups braving the cold to raise awareness for homeless vets (krem.com)