Veteran homelessness has been a major problem across the United States for years, but local communities and governments are getting behind service members in need of housing with the hope of ending the issue in the near future. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates that 1.4 million veterans are at risk of becoming homeless, and that nearly 50,000 veterans are sleeping without a house on an average night.
The federal government has been working on its own programs to end this particular epidemic, but it appears as though cities and states are more quickly and effectively acting on the matter at hand. Two recent examples of this came from Denver, Colorado, and Detroit, Michigan.
Advocacy group's big push
The Denver Post recently reported that local advocates in the Mile High City are aiming to spend about 100 days on a project that will house 65 homeless veterans in Larimer County. One state-backed initiative will bring 140 homeless veterans together to help construct the buildings, and is being run by Homeward 2020, the source affirmed.
Interestingly, this project and others have been part of the federal initiative put into place in 2009 that aimed to end veteran homelessness by last year and, while that goal has not been met, progress has been made. According to the news provider, 35 percent fewer veterans are homeless today than in 2010, which is a significant drop. However, with 50,000 still living without a home across the nation, more concerted efforts are still necessary.
The Denver Post added that advocate Bryan Tribby who is himself a former homeless veteran, decided to begin supporting those who now suffer the way he did by volunteering for both Homeward 2020 and Homeless Gear, offering his experiences to guide initiatives.
Project completed in Detroit
The Stamford Advocate reported that a low-income rent project in Detroit has been completed, and more than 24 veterans are set to move into their new living spaces in the coming days. According to the source, the project involved a major renovation of an apartment building in the city, and cost roughly $6.1 million to complete.
Housing the homeless is not the only feature of this building, as other groups are getting involved to offer services and support. For example, the source pointed out that Detroit Central City Community Mental Health will be actively engaged in providing assistance to veterans who reside in the building.
"We wrap our arms around those in society who need extra support," director of the nonprofit Curtis Smith told the Stamford Advocate. "Those who have experienced being homeless, folks who have mental illness and we also look at folks that have criminal backgrounds."
Ending veteran homelessness is certainly a righteous cause, but relevant efforts will need to be coupled with forward-looking strategies to maintain stability among former service members once they move into houses. With the help local communities, these objectives and more are realistic.