VA San Diego Healthcare System
New VA and AMVETS Program Gives Household Items to First Veteran Recipient
January 9, 2013
“Welcome Home” Program Builds on HUD-VASH Support
SAN DIEGO — Army Veteran Daniel Parker is one of many formerly homeless Veterans to receive housing assistance through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. But it was another VA partnership that helped to make his new apartment a home. On December 12th, Parker became one of the first few recipients of donated beds, couches, tables and other household goods through Team AMVETS: Welcome Home, a partnership between VA and AMVETS Department of California Service Foundation.
“This was truly a blessing, the VA is here to help us” Parker said. “This is one of the best programs I have ever seen that VA put together. All the representatives of AMVETS came together to deliver the furniture to my home. They were so caring. I’m very thankful for this program and everyone has been so respectful and kind.”
Since 2009, the HUD-VASH program has provided thousands of homeless Veterans with Section 8 housing vouchers, including about 1,000 per year to California Veterans. The program follows a “housing first” model, which allows homeless Veterans to rent privately owned housing and, at the same time, access clinical and supportive services through VA’s health care system. But those Veterans often move into empty apartments and cannot furnish their homes until long after moving in. The VA and Team AMVETS’ partnership goal is to eventually offer furnishings and household items to HUD-VASH recipients throughout the state. Both programs are in support of VA’s goal to end Veteran homelessness by 2015.
“Rebuilding a life is not easy, but now Veterans can get started with this crucial support. Transforming a house to a home will transform a life,” said Sharon Elefant, VA Homeless Coordinator for Southern California and Southern Nevada.
The Team AMVETS: Welcome Home program started in December 2012 in the San Diego and Long Beach areas — where the homeless Veterans population is relatively high—and is expected to expand to other areas of Southern California soon.
“Team AMVETS is pleased to provide furniture and other household items to Veterans who have been homeless but are now in the process of rebuilding their lives,” Team AMVETS President Jim Pidgeon said. “We hope the items we provide to a HUD-VASH recipient will transform an otherwise empty housing unit into a true home for that Veteran.”
To help a homeless Veteran or Veteran at risk of homelessness, give him or her the number to the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, 1-877-4AID-VET. The hotline connects homeless Veterans, Veterans at risk of becoming homeless and their families with the VA services and benefits they have earned.