Efforts are growing across the nation to help homeless or returning citizen Veterans, as well as those experiencing financial, mental health or other crises.
These programs provide a daytime sanctuary where homeless veterans can clean up, wash their clothing, and participate in a variety of therapeutic and rehabilitative activities.
Employment Opportunities for Homeless Veterans
The Homeless Veteran Supported Employment Program (HVSEP) provides vocational assistance, job development and placement, and ongoing supports to improve employment outcomes among homeless Veterans and Veterans at-risk of homelessness. Formerly homeless Veterans who have been trained as Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists (VRSs) provide these services.
VA’s Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Program is a national vocational program comprised of three unique programs which assist homeless Veterans in returning to competitive employment: Sheltered Workshop, Transitional Work, and Supported Employment. Veterans in CWT are paid at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher.
VA's National Cemetery Administration and Veterans Health Administration have also formed partnerships at national cemeteries, where formerly homeless Veterans from the CWT program have received work opportunities.
The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program assists Veterans with service-connected disabilities to prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs. Services that may be provided include: Comprehensive rehabilitation evaluation to determine abilities, skills, and interests for employment; employment services; assistance finding and keeping a job; and On the Job Training (OJT), apprenticeship, and non-paid work experiences.
For more information: Federal VA: Homeless Veterans Employment
HUD-VASH Voucher Program
This joint Supported Housing Program with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides permanent housing and ongoing case management treatment services for homeless veterans who would not be able to live independently without the support of case management.
HUD’s Section 8 Voucher Program has designated vouchers to Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) throughout the country for veterans who are homeless. These vouchers allow veterans to live in communities served by their VA medical facility where case management services can be provided.
For more information: Federal VA: HUD-VASH program
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans
If you are a homeless veteran or trying to help a veteran avoid homelessness, contact the federal VA’s National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838) to speak to a trained VA responder. The hotline and online chat are free and neither VA registration nor enrollment in VA healthcare is required to use these services.
Expert responders staff the hotline for homeless veterans 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The responders can provide emergency support and resources to homeless veterans and family members, as well as community agencies and non-VA providers.
Find out more: VA National Call Center
Stand Downs are one-to three-day events that provide homeless veterans a variety of services and allow VA and community-based service providers to reach more homeless veterans. Stand downs give homeless veterans a temporary refuge where they can obtain food, shelter, clothing and a range of community and VA assistance. In many locations, stand downs provide health screenings, referral and access to long-term treatment, benefits counseling, ID cards and access to other programs to meet their immediate needs.
Find out more: Federal VA: Homeless Veterans - Upcoming Events
Transitional Residence Program
The Transitional Residence (TR) program is a work-based Psychosocial Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program offering a therapeutic residential setting for veterans involved in Compensated Work Therapy (CWT). The TR program provides a rehabilitation-focused residential setting for veterans recovering from chronic mental illness, chemical dependency and homelessness.
TR provides a bridge between hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment and successful community reintegration. It utilizes a residential therapeutic community of peer and professional support, with a strong emphasis on increasing personal responsibility and achievement of individualized rehabilitation goals.
This program differs from other VA-operated residential bed programs in that participants contribute (using their CWT earnings) to the cost of operating and maintaining their residences and are responsible for planning, purchasing and preparing their own meals.
Find out more: Federal VA Compensated Work Therapy