Hotel Rooms For Homeless Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing

Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing

The Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program has had a tough challenge for many years because the thought of homeless veterans, let alone anyone else, is mindboggling to the many Americans who question how it’s even possible. But there are solutions and the latest to hit the headlines is the purchase of the Old Town Inn on Anastasia Island in St. Johns County, Florida to house veterans temporarily until they get on their feet.

It’s a beautiful island in Florida that veterans will be able to call home. It will be able to house twenty residents while they work through their homelessness issues and shift into more permanent solutions to keep a roof over their heads. Home Again St. Johns teamed up with the Veterans Council of St. Johns County to purchase the Inn for $3 million and even though the ink hasn’t quite dried yet, it’s pretty much a set deal that will service homeless veterans in the very near future.

The problem that Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing has had over the years is compound. Starting with veterans who don’t want to ask for help because they don’t want a piece of paper saying they’re homeless. That sense of pride puts them on the streets to survive, a solution that is perfectly fine with many of them.

Another reason that I personally believe is an issue is that this information isn’t readily available for veterans who are actually willing to seek help. Finding the information is often like looking for a needle in a haystack and then getting the help these veterans deserve becomes a challenge of navigating red tape and a waiting game that doesn’t seem to want to help anyone. But looks are deceiving. They always are.

The bad part is that the waiting game doesn’t favor anyone and that’s what often pushes veterans into the streets. They run out of resources and options before they have a chance to get the help they need. Sleeping in subways and gas station bathrooms isn’t a myth. In fact, the situation has often been far worse. Veterans have had to find shelter in abandoned buildings, abandoned cars, and tent cities because police officers have been instructed to kick them out of bus stops and to keep them moving when they try to catch some sleep on a heated grate in the middle of a sidewalk.

Historically though, the veteran homelessness picture is actually looking better when you take all things into account. There has been a steady decrease since 2010 despite a few jumps, one such increase was by 7.4% last year. The numbers still look high but look at how far they’ve dropped just in the last 14 years.

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Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing
via U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The good news is that the purchase of the Old Town Inn isn’t an isolated incident. It’s happening all across America like when the Tunnel to Towers Foundation bought a hotel in Houston, Texas to house nearly 200 veterans. Following suit, the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans turned the Robins Hotel in Robbinsdale, Minnesota into veteran housing.

These are the kinds of changes that are making a difference. It doesn’t always take $3 million to purchase a hotel to house veterans. That’s just one solution available to them and it would be great if they would start taking advantage of them all. It’s really not a good look when a country seems to care more about what’s going on around the world than what’s happening here at home. But the first step is to make sure veterans are aware of these programs, and then it’s all on them to just be willing to ask.