Until a month ago, one of them lived in the woods. Another lived in his broken down car for two months, stranded. And yet another, after she lost everything in a fire, was so paralyzed by fear that she was unable to make a single move towards repairing her life.
What is the thread tying these three people together? They are American veterans and all struggle with challenges that left them homeless. Thankfully, they were helped by United Way’s newest initiative, Priority Veteran. Today, these three veterans have safe places to live and are getting help in gaining control of their lives. To date more than 400 of Alabama’s veterans have found help through Priority Veteran, which, with support from the Veterans Administration, focuses on homeless veterans and provides one-on-one case management for safe, stable housing, financial stability and self-sufficiency.
Many returning soldiers, once willing to fight for our nation, now need our help in fighting their personal battles. Nearly 20% of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression, and a surprising 45% of returning veterans never apply for veteran’s benefits.
How does Priority Veteran help? Clients get assistance in applying for and navigating Veterans Administration benefits and work closely with Priority Veteran case managers on such needs as access to health/mental healthcare, financial coaching, stable housing and household needs.
How can you help? Donate to Priority Veteran and you will provide the basic needs that veterans who have been homeless need the most: food, clothing, shelter and household items. Or consider hosting a drive for new household items or personal hygiene items. Click here to donate.Sources: “Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery,” RAND, 2008: http:/www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG720/. “How Many Veterans Are Accessing VA?” www.va.gov