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.

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.

NEW: Starting April 1, the ENVSC will reimburse up to $400 per kit and up to $600 for each kit that includes a bed (dependent on corresponding receipts).

Watch how Cocoa Beach, Fla., Lodge No. 2387 makes a big impact on veterans through the Welcome Home Kit program:

Whether your Lodge wants to provide a few kits a year or a few kits a week, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few program guidelines to keep in mind.

  • A kit must include a variety of items. It may not include just one of two items.
  • Kits are intended exclusively for veterans exiting homelessness and moving into new homes.
  • Gift cards may not comprise more than $25 of any kit. Food may not comprise more than $50 of any kit.
  • We recommend that beds do not comprise more than $500 of any kit.

Ready to get started?

  • Find a partner to connect your Lodge with veterans in need. Speak with the facility and the veteran about their needs.
  • Get the community involved! Consider holding a supply drive to collect commonly needed items.
  • Deliver the kits to the veteran or your project! Many Lodges take photos with the veterans when they deliver the kits. (Check out our Instagram page for examples!)
  • Complete the form and upload your receipts online. You may include multiple kits on one form. We’ll send you a reimbursement check, in accordance with the receipts provided.
  • Stay in contact with the veterans! Having an Elk as an advocate and friend can further help these veterans to thrive in their new home. Consider the Adopt-a-Veteran program.


Increased Focus on 12 cities

The VA has asked the Elks to focus their efforts in and around the following 12 cities, which they’ve identified as the areas of highest need. The following two additional programs are available only in these 12 areas.

Chicago : New York : Washington, D.C. : San Diego
Los Angeles : Loma Linda : San Francisco : Seattle
Miami-Dade : Tampa-Orlando : Las Vegas : Phoenix

Focus Grants

The Elks National Veterans Service Commission is offering additional grants to Lodges in the 12 target cities identified above. These grants of up to $10,000 will be available specifically to assist veterans who are homeless, or at risk of being so. Applications become available online April 1, 2022, and available until all grant funds are claimed. Here are the requirements:

  • Significant Elk involvement is required.

  • Grant applications must focus on direct service to veterans in need.

  • Grants are competitive and will be awarded to Lodges with the intention of awarding a similar number of grants to Lodges in each area. Please work together with Lodges in your area to coordinate outreach.

  • 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.


Elks Emergency Assistance Program

The Elks Emergency Assistance Fund provides one-time financial assistance to veterans who would otherwise be at risk of homelessness. Veterans registered with and receiving services from the Department of Veterans Affairs in one of the 12 cities with the greatest number of homeless veterans can apply for one-time assistance with rent, security deposit, mortgage, or utilities. Veterans must be referred by a VA social worker.

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.

Back to Vets Home