Life as a homeless veteran is undoubtedly difficult. There are many ways a veteran can become homeless, and fortunately, prevention has become a major focus of the VA and community organizations around the country.
But for those who are already homeless, it can be a long road back into society. That’s why stand down events like the one DVNF recently attended in Ft. Myers, FL are such a vital necessity. The VA and local veterans groups give medical care and casework to these veterans so they can begin the task of finding housing and employment, but as with most worthwhile things in life, this can take time.
As the wheels of this process start to turn, it’s important to understand that homeless veterans may not get placed into housing overnight, nor will they get a job immediately. That’s why programs like DVNF’s Health & Comfort program are so useful. Veterans can get items they can’t afford, many of which are true luxuries to them.
At least 3 never before reached veterans were helped at this stand down. One of the veterans said: “This stand down is unbelievable. I live in the woods, and I need all of these items. As a homeless veteran, I feel like the world has forgotten about me. The items I got today are really welcomed. I especially need the warm wool blanket and the great brown jacket with all the pockets. With the cold weather, it’s something I really wanted. The new army boots, sleeping bag, shirts and first aid kit are a godsend. The lotions and personal items are things that I’ve had to learn to live without. The portable stove and knapsack are also much appreciated. It was a cool event for me.”
Another veteran told us: “Today is really special to me. I stay in different parts of Ft. Myers, but mainly in the woods off of route 41, right past the bridge from downtown. My needs are very simple and cannot be weighed down with heavy things as I need to be able to move in a hurry. Today I got things that’ll allow me to be more comfortable.”
It’s easy to take for granted the simple pleasures of life. Clothing, a blanket, or just lotion to soothe dry skin—these items give veterans support they need as the VA and other local organizations work to place them into a home and a job. That teamwork, along with support of generous volunteers is what lets these disadvantaged veterans know that not only do we care about their wellbeing, but their service to our country is something to always be recognized!
Tags: Disabled Veterans National Foundation, Employment, Health & Comfort, Homeless, Mental Health, Military, Stand Down, Unemployment, Veterans