Military City, USA (San Antonio) is one of the largest cities filled with military families from 3 large bases that support much of our country. This is a city on the rise and yet, we have many issues to overcome. Some issues take more priority over others. Some are outright ridiculous in my opinion.
Homeless veterans in our city is one of them. How can someone who has served our country be homeless? How can someone who has taken bullets to protect and serve, yet have no where to live when they return home. A purple metal isn’t going to cut it. What would cause this to happen? There are various reasons including lack of support from family or friends, substance abuse, or mental health challenges that develop or worsen as a result of trauma they experienced while serving. Whatever the reason, we need to come together and help these folks in need.
According to the 2012 Point in Time Count and Survey, an estimated 22.6% of the homeless in San Antonio who were counted as the head of their household are veterans. These are not good numbers, especially in a town who prides itself on having great patriotism for our beloved military.
In 2009, President Barack Obama and VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced the goal of ending Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 through the Homeless Veterans Outreach Initiative. Under this initiative, a strategic plan outlines aligns mainstream housing, health, education, and human services to prevent Americans from experiencing homelessness. It both strengthens existing partnerships such as the combined effort of HUD and the Veterans Affairs to help homeless Veteran and forge new partnerships between agencies like HUD, HHS, and the Department of Labor. The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans was also established (877-4AID-VET or 877-424-3838) as a toll-free hotline available 24/7. Trained responders, many of them Veterans themselves, are available to provide support to Veterans and their loved ones who lack safe, secure housing.
What Can We Do To Help?
Well, this is a great effort on a national level, but what are we doing about it in our hometown? We aren’t going to wait on our administration to fix our problems now are we? We must get involved with our local VA and other non-profits who dedicate their time to supporting local vets on a daily basis.
One amazing non-profit in our city that is finding homes for Vets and their families, is the Alamo Community Group, who launched a program called House our Heroes. Under this program, Alamo Community Group specifically raises funds for homeless vets and provides safe homes to live in.
On September 27th, they are hosting their 2nd Annual House our Heroes 5k run at Woodlawn Lake to support those vets in need. We had the pleasure of shooting a public service announcement for this event and learned a lot about the issue in doing so. We are hoping to see many people in the community come out and support our vets, and we need more events like this to continue on every year. You can watch the PSA here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6EZ0q6elv0
I feel this is a huge effort that everyone can participate in on some level. Whether it’s joining a support group, calling the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, getting involved as a volunteer at the VA, or helping non-profits like House Our Heroes- we can all do something. Again, I am blessed to be able to share these messages through our video production services and hope to continue this great work for many years. As a business owner of a Media and Marketing company in San Antonio, it is my responsibility to 1) raise awareness of local issues and 2) give back to the community. I will be at the 5k on Sept. 27th to show my support (I can’t promise you will see me running the whole way), but I hope to see you there! You can register HERE : houseourheroessa.org
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
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