Members of the fire and emergency medical services help build safe, stable communities where everyone should have a place to call home. Volunteer firefighters and rescue teams have a frontline opportunity to assist in the nationwide effort to end homelessness among veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is asking first responders to help identify veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, and to raise awareness of the resources available to them.
VA provides individualized, comprehensive care that includes healthcare, employment, education, and housing assistance to enable veterans and their families find and maintain safe, stable housing. It is critical to get the message out so that veterans can utilize the services available to them.
Here are some ways firefighters and EMS personnel can participate in this effort:
- Watch this video that explains how first responders can help VA end homelessness among veterans and get struggling veterans get back on track: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t-pX_m45A8
- Ask members of your community who lack safe, stable housing if they served in the military. If you encounter a veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, call 877-4AID-VET or chat online at www.va.gov/homeless to learn more or be connected with the support services VA offers.
- Go online to order free materials that promote the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans and other VA services for Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Visit www.va.gov/homeless/materials_center.asp to order free brochures, posters, wallet cards, bandanas, magnets, hygiene coolers, pens, and more to keep in your fire rig or ambulance in case you encounter someone who needs support.
Honor the service and sacrifice our veterans have made for our country by supporting this effort. As you work to keep the individuals and families safe in your community, remember we can all do something to help end veteran homelessness.