Veterans Day is a time to celebrate the many freedoms we enjoy. It is the one day of the year that all Americans can rejoice in their freedom to speak, to worship, to vote, to get an education, and so much more thanks to the men and women who gave up so much to bravely serve and preserve our way of life. Veterans deserve our heartfelt thanks, respect and recognition every day of the year—but even more so on Veteran’s Day.
Many are not aware of the many challenges facing our veterans today. The 2013 Homeless Point-In-Time count revealed that there were approximately 57,849 homeless Veterans on a single night in January 2013 in the United States. For the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, even one Veteran without safe and stable housing is one too many. Between 2009 and 2013, there was a 23.49% reduction in Veteran homelessness, but it is still not enough.
Many Veterans are not receiving services, including healthcare, to which they are entitled through the Veterans Administration. In September 2013, Barnabas began addressing the needs of homeless veterans and those at risk of homelessness living in Nassau County through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program managed by the Emergency Services & Homeless Coalition of Northeast Florida and funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The purpose of the SSVF program is to assist these military veterans in obtaining VA benefits and other services, and provide short-term housing assistance to help them get back on their feet.
Since October 2013, Barnabas has helped 23 veteran families comprised of 52 individuals who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless through the SSVF services by locating low-income rental housing, providing household goods, bicycles for job transportation, clothing from our New To You store, and food from the Barnabas Food Pantry. Barnabas has also helped veterans receive more of their pension benefits so they can afford to live on a modest income, and referred them to Veteran healthcare services to which they are entitled through the Veterans Administration.
What can you do to help Veterans in need? If you know of affordable and safe rental units and/or landlords willing to take a chance on a Veteran and their family, please contact Barnabas at (904)261-7000 x104. If you know of a Veteran in need of SSVF services, please contact Barnabas at (904)261-7000 x104.
Barnabas is the comprehensive service center in Nassau County that helps our neighbors in crisis with a compassionate helping hand so they can become healthy, productive citizens, strengthening our entire community. To learn more about Barnabas’ programs and ways to support , visit www.BarnabasNassau.org. Additional information about the SSVF program can be found at: www.BarnabasNassau.org, www.homesforourbrave.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp.