• 10 percent of homeless adults are veterans.
• 70 percent of veterans served by the VA have dealt with chronic homelessness and unemployment.
• 14 percent of veterans served by the VA have families.
Every night, as many as 47,000 veterans are living on the streets. Each with a different story, they all shared a common pledge: to support and defend this country. Their service is done. Now, it’s the Elks’ turn to serve.
In partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Elks National Veterans Service Commission has pledged to help end veteran homelessness, and ensure that every veteran has the safe, stable home they deserve. To accomplish this goal, we need your help!
Read more about the program below to get started. Click here to download an instructional booklet about the program to share with others.
Here are the components of the Welcome Home program.
Welcome Home Kits
Most veterans move into their homes with nothing. Elks can help veterans establish their homes by building Welcome Home Kits. Generally, this kit would include some small furniture, kitchenware, and cleaning supplies. Items can be new or used, donated or purchased. The ENVSC has funds available to help with this.
- Get started by holding a supply drive to collect commonly needed items like bathroom towels, toiletries, paper products, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies.
- Know anyone who is moving? Collect furniture, dishes and other home goods they don’t need any more.
- Beds are an especially big need for veterans moving into new homes, as donations generally can’t be accepted. Hold a fundraiser to buy beds for newly housed veterans.
- Need help with funding the rest? Our Welcome Home Kit Reimbursement Form assists Lodges with costs up to $200. Access it here!
- Not sure how to get started? Read this how-to guide put together by Hopkins Lodge.
- Looking for inspiration? Check out our Vet of the Day feature, which includes photos of veterans helped through this program.
Increased Focus on 8 cities
The VA has asked the Elks to focus their efforts in and around the following 8 cities, which they’ve identified as the areas of highest need. The following two additional programs will be available to Lodges in and surrounding these areas: Chicago; New York; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Loma Linda; San Francisco; Seattle; and Miami-Dade.
Welcome Home Grants
In addition to Freedom Grants, the Elks National Veterans Service Commission is funding additional grants in the areas around the 8 target cities identified above. These grants of up to $4,500 will be available specifically to assist veterans who are homeless, or at risk of being so. Applications become available online August 1, and are due by May 31, 2017. Here are the requirements:
- Elk involvement is required.
- Grant applications must focus on direct service to veterans in need.
- A complete application and budget must be submitted and approved before funds are mailed.
- After project is complete, Lodges must complete a Final Report Form, including documentation of all funds spent.
- More information, including application questions, can be found on this one-page flyer.
Elks Emergency Assistance Program
Listen to social workers from the Veterans Administration rave about the Elks' emergency assistance program in this short video.
Spread the word about the Elks Veterans Emergency Assistance Program. Veterans registered with and receiving services from the Department of Veterans Affairs can apply for one-time monetary assistance to prevent homelessness or secure a home. Forms must be signed by the veteran and by a VA employee.
- All assistance requests must be submitted through the Department of Veterans Affairs, and signed by a VA employee. Individual requests cannot be processed at this time. This form is only available to VA facilities in the 8 targeted areas..
Rally your Lodge members to get involved! Together, we can end veteran homelessness.
Be a local advocate.
- Encourage business owners to hire veterans in need.
- Help find affordable housing for veterans making the transition. Talk to landlords in your community about renting to veterans.
- Partner with other groups in your area.
- Share the video below with friends. Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.
For further information, contact the Elks National Veterans Service Commission office at Vets@elks.org, or at 773-755-4736. Or, visit www.va.gov/homeless/.
Questions? Email Vets@elks.org or call 773/755-4736.
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