Veterans News

An Ounce of Prevention

The ENVSC’s Welcome Home Program has been helping veterans prevent and exit homelessness since 2016. When you think of the Welcome Home Program, what comes to mind? You might picture a veteran finally moving into a permanent home of their own after living in a shelter or on the street. That’s an essential part of our work, but it’s not the whole story. The other side of the Welcome Home Program is just as important: helping veterans remain safely housed in times of crisis.

The primary way we prevent homelessness is through our Emergency Assistance Fund, which helps veterans with housing expenses such as rent and utilities.* As the program name suggests, many veterans who turn to us for help are one emergency away from being served eviction papers. Every veteran has their own story, yet many veterans and their families are united by the looming threat of homelessness and the precarity of living paycheck to paycheck. We provide targeted financial assistance in critical moments. Often, that assistance is the only thing standing between them and homelessness.

Hear from Nicole, an Army veteran, about how the Emergency Assistance Fund helped her family through a difficult time.

Watching a newly housed veteran step foot in their own home for their first time inspires a lot of emotion. Homelessness prevention, while perhaps less cinematic, is equally monumental in the lives of veterans. In the past year, we helped a new mom with rent as she worked toward her goal of becoming financially independent after leaving a bad marriage. When a veteran’s wife died, we paid utility bills to allow him to grieve while adjusting to the loss of her income. We assisted a veteran who was temporarily out of work following a car accident and had used up his savings to stay afloat.

You’ve heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That has never been truer than in the case of veteran homelessness. We have witnessed firsthand how becoming homeless puts veterans at increased risk of homelessness in the future. Having an eviction on record or owing debt to a former landlord can make it hard to find new housing, and many landlords don’t want to take a chance on a tenant with poor credit.

By preventing veterans from becoming homeless in the first place, we are intervening in this cycle before it begins. The Emergency Assistance Fund helps people to overcome hurdles small and large to remain stably housed and save for the future. A veteran in California explained, “Without your assistance I had no other options and would be destitute. Now, I see a way out.”

*The Emergency Assistance Fund operates in partnership with VA social workers in Chicago, New York, Seattle, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Loma Linda, Miami, Tampa-Orlando, Las Vegas and Phoenix.


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