Welcome Home

Welcome Home Program

Every night, as many as 40,000 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

Watch how one Lodge makes a big impact on veterans through the Welcome Home Kit program.

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.

  • Not sure how to get started? Read this how-to guide put together by Hopkins Lodge.
  • Need help locating VA facilities? Check out this list of Community Resource & Referral Centers. CRRCs are VA centers aimed at providing veterans who are homeless and at risk of homelessness with one-stop access to community-based, multi-agency services to promote permanent housing, health and mental health care, career development and access to VA and non-VA benefits.
  • Need help with funding? Our Welcome Home Kit Reimbursement Form assists Lodges with costs up to $200.

Access the Welcome Home Kit reimbursement form here!

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.; San Diego, Los Angeles; Loma Linda; Seattle; and Miami-Dade.

Focus Grants

Hear about how one Virginia Lodge has used their Welcome Home grant to help veterans exiting homelessness establish their home.

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 July 1, 2018, and are due by December 31, 2018. 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, including documentation of all funds spent.

  • More information, including application questions, can be found on this one-page flyer.

Lodge Secretaries and Grant Coordinators can access the Grant application here!

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.

  • Visit the Elks Volunteers Resource page for information about assistance available to veterans outside these 8 areas.

Rally your Lodge members to get involved! Together, we can end veteran homelessness. Share the video below with friends, family and Lodge members to inspire them to help.

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/.


Check out other Elks Veterans Programs! Learn about the Adopt-a-Veteran, Veterans Leather and Elks VA Voluntary Service Programs, and Freedom Grants.

Questions? Email Vets@elks.org or call 773/755-4736.

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