WASHINGTON — Military Outreach USA, a partner of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), recently launched a program to encourage communities to connect with local VA facilities and help VA provide support to homeless or recently homeless Veterans and their families.
The Adopt-a-VA program, which began in February, connects individuals and community organizations, such as schools, faith-based groups and businesses, with a local VA Homeless Program case manager at the VA Medical Center or community-based outpatient clinic in their area to help meet Veterans’ non-medical needs.
“VA remains committed to preventing and ending Veteran homelessness, but we cannot achieve this goal alone,” said Anthony Love, senior advisor and director of Community Engagement for VHA’s Homeless Programs Office. “Partnerships are critical to providing the support needed to help Veterans exit homelessness, and to identifying local housing and employment opportunities that help them remain stably housed. Military Outreach USA’s Adopt-a-VA program makes it easier than ever for everyone to get involved and support Veterans in their communities.”
In 2016, to help formerly homeless Veterans successfully transition to permanent housing, VA formed a partnership with Military Outreach USA, a national, community-based organization that celebrates and supports military and Veteran families. During the first year of the partnership, Military Outreach USA secured donations of services, beds and household items valued at more than $700,000 for homeless and at-risk Veterans in all 50 states.
Building on those successes, Military Outreach USA streamlined the process of securing and distributing donations from faith-based, nonprofit and other organizations to Veterans who are transitioning from homelessness.
“Adopt-a-VA gives those who want to help our Veterans a way to help,” said Joseph Palmer, executive director of Military Outreach USA.
No financial obligation is required for community organizations interested in participating in the Adopt-a-VA program. Forms of assistance can include donating household items and assisting with collection drives for move-in essentials, such as cleaning products and small appliances.
Since 2010, VA’s efforts to end Veteran homelessness have resulted in a nearly 50 percent reduction among this at-risk population across the country. Between 2015 and 2016, Veteran homelessness decreased nearly 17 percent, four times the previous year’s decline. The efforts of state and local governments, federal partners and nongovernmental organizations have been instrumental in producing these outcomes.
For more information about how to help Veterans through Adopt-a-VA, visit www.adopt-a-va.com. To learn more about VA programs and services that support homeless and at-risk Veterans, visit www.va.gov/homeless.