Vanessa Sarlo Talasazan: Veterans make up a vulnerable population, but help is available
With estimates of 600 veterans homeless in the Granite State during the course of a year, and several thousand just a few happenstances away from becoming homeless, relief cannot come soon enough.
Homelessness is a complex challenge without a single solution. Veterans have unique needs that differ from other homeless subpopulations. It is often difficult to find employment that uses the skills obtained in the military, forcing some vets to work in jobs that don't pay a living wage.
Not too long ago, one-third of the U.S. homeless population wore a military uniform. Today, thanks to a concentrated effort by the Veterans Administration in partnership with community-based organizations, veteran homelessness has declined by about 70 percent nationwide.
Since 2004, more than 300 veterans moved from homelessness to independence through Veterans FIRST, and 430 obtained employment. In Greater Nashua, the number of homeless, unsheltered veterans was reduced from a high of more than 100 in 2006 to just one in 2013.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs awarded Harbor Homes a second year of funding for its Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.
While all of this is good news, there is still a lot of work to be done. Like most nonprofits, Harbor Homes relies heavily on individuals and companies within the state to fill a nearly $300,000 annual gap between what grants and loans provide, and what the expense is to provide services.
To learn more, visit www.harborhomes.org.
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