On any given night, there are more than 60,000 homeless Veterans in the United States.1 Many of these Veterans suffer from physical, emotional or mental challenges, are unemployed, or are single parents with dependent children. In California, the number of homeless Veterans is disproportionate to the numbers reported across the U.S. in that California is home to some of the largest Veteran’s reception centers and military bases in the country. As the number of returning Veterans increases, the number of unsheltered Veterans also increases. The Veteran Affairs (VA), in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides vouchers to Veterans who are working with VA case managers to rehabilitate themselves and find regular employment. While the HUD-VASH vouchers provide a safe, clean living space, the units are unfurnished, leaving these Veterans to sleep on the floor with no means to cook, sit, or enjoy the basic comforts of a furnished home. It is this gap that Team AMVETS™ seeks to close. Imagine being homeless and then being given an opportunity to get off the streets only to realize that although you have a roof and walls, you still don’t have the basic dignity of a bed or a sofa or even some dishes from which to eat. Thus, the “Team AMVETS Welcome Home Program” was established to fill this void. A partnership between the VA and the AMVETS Department of California Service Foundation, Team AMVETS provides furniture, appliances, and other household items to formally homeless Veterans.
The “Team AMVETS Welcome Home Program” has made nearly 1000 successful deliveries throughout California, including San Diego County, Orange County, Long Beach, Greater Los Angeles, and Fresno. The first delivery was made to a Veteran in San Diego the week of Thanksgiving 2012 with a “Welcome Home” celebration. A residence is made a home by moving in beds, sheets, pillows, blankets, dressers, night stands, couches, coffee tables, end tables, dining room tables and chairs, refrigerators, pots and pans, and special request items, such as towels or rugs. This “Welcome Home” delivery set the standard of thanking formerly homeless Veterans for their service and getting them not only off the streets, but also into a furnished residence, providing them with purpose and dignity.
In 2014 it is our goal to provide furnishings for every Veteran in California who receives housing vouchers through the VA. Your support of the “Team AMVETS Welcome Home Program” will provide the resources needed for us to give formerly homeless Veterans the furnishings, appliances, and the basic necessities they so rightly deserve.
As these men and women begin to rebuild their lives, Team AMVETS is there when help is needed most. By providing a clean, sustainable living environment that can be called home, Veterans can integrate back into the workforce and our communities with pride and increased self-esteem. Please help us “Welcome Home” our Veterans in style by supporting Team AMVETS California Charities, Inc.