As a result of the national economic downturn, Central Alabama’s veterans and their families need our help now more than ever.
In April, United Way’s Priority Veteran program received $1.3 million from the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. The additional funding will help ramp up the program’s services for eligible, low-income veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Priority Veteran’s Portfolio of Services
Since 2013, Priority Veteran has assisted more than 720 homeless veterans or veterans at risk of becoming homeless in the Birmingham metro area.
The program provides a wide range of services including:
- Emergency housing assistance and hotel stays
- Household goods and food
- Security deposits, rent and utility assistance
- Transportation assistance
Protecting Veterans During the Pandemic
During the coronavirus pandemic, Priority Veteran services are helping keep veterans safe.
Many local shelters have limited availability and are not safe for older veterans or those with a chronic health condition. Their health is at risk in a congregate setting. Veterans in need of emergency housing assistance can contact Priority Veteran.
So far, during the coronavirus outbreak, Priority Veteran has been able to place 27 low-income veteran families across the state in hotels; those same families would have otherwise been in a shelter or on the street. This effort keeps the veteran safe from exposure to the virus and helps prevent the shelters from becoming overwhelmed.
More Than a Place to Stay
Priority Veteran staff are also available to assist with general needs.
- Creating a housing stability plan
- Accessing medical or mental health services
- Enrolling in veterans’ benefits
- Job-search assistance
- Financial coaching
- Other services to keep veterans off the streets
Some additional examples:
Protecting veterans from the virus, especially those whose health is at higher risk due to their age or medical history, is a priority. For example, Priority Veteran was able to place one veteran in housing near UAB so he could easily get to his dialysis appointments.
During the crisis, Priority Veteran has also expanded its ability to assist low-income veterans with rent payments.
The program has also partnered with Nourish Kitchens to provide meals to veterans who do not have access to food during this time.
Priority Veteran Director Lula Skowronek said, “We are very glad that we can continue to serve veterans who are facing homelessness during this pandemic. How we operate has changed, but Priority Veteran is still open, and we want to make sure the most vulnerable veterans have a safe place to stay.”
Know a Veteran Who Needs Help?
If you or someone you know is a veteran who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, please call 866-460-3827 today to be screened for eligibility in the Priority Veteran program. Priority Veteran’s goal is to stabilize vulnerable veterans as quickly as possible by connecting them to housing and financial services. For more information, visit www.priorityveteran.org.