On November 11, United Way is especially grateful to our veteran heroes. Many Alabama veterans have sacrificed safety and stability to protect our lives, our homes and our freedom; it’s impossible to imagine where our nation would be without them. However, when our veterans return home, many face extreme hardships, including housing instability and homelessness.
Veterans face the same issues that contribute to homelessness for anyone, such as a lack of affordable housing. However, for our vets, the challenges of returning to civilian life are often compounded by higher rates of unemployment, depression and PTSD.
Priority Veteran, supported by funding from the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), was founded in October 2013 to support Alabama’s veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Since 2013, Priority Veteran has helped more than 2,870 veterans find stable housing through intensive, one-on-one case management designed to meet the unique needs of veterans and connect them with services and resources to help sustain their independence.
“United Way has really made it a priority to look at their needs and see how we can make their transition back to civilian life as easy as possible,” said Skowronek.
To Mr. Jones, a Navy veteran with a degree in social work, who joined Priority Veteran this spring, it’s an effective approach.
“It’s one of the best programs I’ve seen that’ll actually get a veteran started and on the right track,” he said. “They follow through, and that means a lot.”
Priority Veteran’s caring caseworkers — many of whom are veterans themselves — are integral to the program’s success, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was surprised by how smoothly things have gone,” said Jones. “My case manager has been with me every step of the way. Every few days we touch base, even though we can’t meet in person.”
And that individualized attention doesn’t go unnoticed.
“It feels like a new life,” said Mr. Jones. “They gave me an opportunity to start a new a job and a home at the same time. It feels like a new life.”
Learn more about United Way Priority Veteran, and the program’s commitment to serving those who have served our country, by clicking here.