Everyone experiences some kind of stress during their lifetime…it’s a simple fact of life. But for military and first responder families, stress and strain is an everyday occurrence and compounded when coupled with deployments and moves…but nothing compares to what happens to these families when they find themselves living on the streets!
The Vets on Track Foundation, through its Fresh Start Program, is committed to working with veterans and first responders who need support in getting their lives back on track. VOTF is committed to working with organizations like The Friendship Place, Vet Hunters and the National Coalition for the Homeless to ensure that every veteran and first responder transitioning into permanent housing from living on the streets has the necessary furniture and household accessories to transform their new house into a “home.”
The primary focus of the Vets on Track Program is to help veterans and first responders and their families with the transition from living on the streets to living in a home, or for those who may just need a little extra support. As we travel the country and participate in grass-roots outreach programs, we will ask for community support in collecting much needed items to fill each new veterans home with fundamental pieces – it’s the simple things that make a house a home!
Every home needs things like:
We are NOT looking for your discarded broken pieces of furniture, torn drapes or tarnished cutlery. Please remember the items we give out will be going into someone’s home.
For reference, all donated items are tax deductible, and are given to veterans and other families in need FREE of charge! It’s the support of the American people that make this program possible!
A Homeless America
About 46 million America’s are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. Difficult choices must be made when limited resources cover only some of these necessities. Often it is housing, which absorbs a high proportion of income that must be dropped. If you are poor, you are essentially an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets.
Homeless veterans are younger on average than the total veteran population. Approximately 9% are between the ages of 18 and 30, and 41% are between the ages of 31 and 50. Conversely, only 5% of all veterans are between the ages of 18 and 30, and less than 23% are between 31 and 50.
America’ s homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF), and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. Two-thirds served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone.
Though research indicates that veterans who served in the late Vietnam and post-Vietnam era are at greatest risk of homelessness, veterans returning from the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq often have severe disabilities, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that are known to be correlated with homelessness. And as the military evolves, so too do the challenges. Homeless women veterans, for instance, are far more common now than in any other time in the past.
VOTF’s Drive to End Homelessness
Tonight, more than 600,000 Americans will sleep in alleys, abandoned buildings, and under bridges because they have no home. Many of these are this nation’s forgotten heroes – the men and women who once proudly served in a military uniform…yet today they are finding themselves experiencing the ravages of homelessness.
A successful local campaign to end and prevent homelessness depends on community partnerships and compassionate citizen involvement. VOTF’s Fresh Start Program works with organizations like the Friendship Place, Vet Hunters, the National Coalition for the Homeless and communities all across the country to gather and distribute much needed supplies to homeless veterans, and others who may need support. Through its national outreach events, VOTF is able to create partnerships that work together to address this most critical need.