Socialscape

We give veterans our all after they've given it all for us.

Organizations Helping Veterans

The United States has many organizations that were created in order to help veterans adapt to normal daily life again. These organizations range from being geared towards specific wars, versus specific ailments suffered as a result of service, or just general groups related towards religion and gender. Below is a small sample of some of the organizations present today for veterans and a summary of their area of focus. A full list can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_veterans_organizations

  • Paralyzed Veterans of America – This veterans organization was founded in 1946 and focuses on veterans of the United States armed forces who have experienced some sort of spinal cord injury or dysfunction.*
  • Wounded Warrior Project – This organization offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military. It was founded in 2003 by John Melia; a veteran who was wounded in a helicopter crash serving in Somalia in 1992. As of 2011, the organization has 147 employees and over 1600 volunteers.**
  • Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America – This organization was created in 1896 by Civil War veterans to prove that Jews have proudly served this country since the Revolutionary Era. It has an estimated 15,000 members ranging from WWII to current conflicts.***
  • Vietnam Veterans of America – The VVA is a national non-profit corporation founded in 1978. It is committed to serving all veterans, however is dedicated to Vietnam veterans and their families.****
  • Blinded Veterans Association – BVA is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families overcome blindness. Based on VA data, there are more than 158,000 veterans in America that suffer from severe vision impairment or blindness.*****

As you can see, there are organizations that focus on very specific sects of veterans and aim to provide awareness and services to those groups. Many focus on injured veterans, while others focus on veterans of a specific religious background or veterans of a specific war. Regardless, all organizations have a similar goal in mind; to help veterans in any way possible.

If you are interested in donating money to an organization or would like to volunteer, feel free to visit any of their websites where there will be information on how to contribute to their cause. Many are non-profit organizations and have received congressional charters under Title 36 of the United States Code. This essentially means that the organization is “officially” sanctioned by the U.S. Government.

If you chose to associate with any veteran’s association you are setting a good example for other American citizens, and helping show how veterans should be treated when returning home from service. Whether you are helping by making a donation or by volunteering your time, the organizations and veterans will greatly appreciate your contribution. Many of these organizations need all the help they can get in terms of funding and workers, so if a contribution is made, they will be extremely grateful, as will the veteran’s they are serving on a daily basis.

The next time you see a veteran, be sure to thank them. The sacrifices they’ve made to serve our country should not go forgotten or un-noticed.

Where Homeless Veterans can go for Help

It’s no secret that many veterans have trouble adapting to everyday life once they return home from service; however what’s astounding is some homeless veterans living on our streets today. An estimated 49,933 homeless veterans roam our streets, approximately 8.6 percent of the entire homeless population.*

So what can be done to combat this and how can we help?

All over the country, there are many support and volunteer groups aimed at bringing awareness and aid to the homeless veteran community. There are also federal programs which can provide assistance to homeless veterans such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These two federal programs work together to provide favorable lending situations for veterans looking to buy a home; making it easier and cheaper for them to acquire a roof over their heads.

Veterans can also look into mental health programs sponsored by both local and federal governments. Things like post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse disorder go hand-in-hand with veteran homelessness and veterans difficulty adapting to society. Even if a veteran is provided with a home, these other issues need to be addressed otherwise they can end up back on the streets rather quickly.

The VA also introduced the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program which is aimed at working in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to end homelessness among veterans. In its first two years, the program aided almost 100,000 individuals in over 61,000 households. It was reported that only 9.4 percent of veterans returned to homelessness after being housed their first year and 15.5 percent returned to homelessness after their second year of being housed. The program’s goal is to not only provide homes for these veterans and their families but also to provide a legitimate long-term solution to their homeless-behavioral habits.

The good news is that homeless numbers within the veteran population are decreasing. Local communities are making commitments to end homelessness within the veteran community, and in January 2015 New Orleans became the first major city to announce that it had ended veteran homelessness. The first lady received pledges from 355 mayors, seven governors, and 112 county and city officials to end veteran homelessness in their local communities.**

As homelessness within veterans continues to shrink, programs like the ones started by the federal government will continue to play a huge role. However, the solution to the problem will ultimately fall on the veterans’ shoulders. The desire to seek help and live a better life must be present within them. They may also need to address mental health issues in conjunction with their homelessness to see real success. It would be a shame for a veteran who took advantage of a government program like the ones mentioned above, only to return to homelessness a year or two later. Society needs to understand that this is a problem with many facets that need to be addressed and that homelessness was just the result of some other serious issues.