A homeless veteran’s journey

Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio take vets from the street to independence.

No two homeless veterans’ stories are the same. At Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio, from the moment a veteran enters our care, our goal is to help him or her regain stability and take back their life. Take a look at how one homeless veteran’s journey might look like.

From the street.

When a homeless veteran first enters an open shelter (the open shelter is operated by another organization – it is even more basic than our emergency shelter), he begins his journey at intake. Often with nothing but the clothes on his back, he answers questions about himself, including indicating his veteran status. There are various transitional housing programs for veterans, most operated in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,, and at Volunteers of America, our goal is to put veterans in stable housing as quickly as possibly.

Getting acquainted with Volunteers of America.

From open shelters or other intake systems, veterans walk through our doors. They receive basic necessities that might typically be taken for granted but for someone who has been living on the streets or who has recently lost housing  the items help restore their dignity. We provide hygiene kits that include essentials like shampoo, socks, washcloths, shaving cream and razor, toothbrush, toothpaste.

Our Veterans Resource Centers hold roughly 50 veterans, where clients usually have just one roommate– meaning privacy and a feeling of safety that they might not have had in years.

Veterans Resource Center amenities.

When veterans move into the center, they find clean restroom facilities, laundry facilities, lockers, three meals a day and community rooms. One of the best aspects of a shelter specific to veterans is they all have something in common. Transient populations frequently don’t feel very connected to anyone. At Volunteers of America, veterans automatically share a bond with others that they may have been missing since the day they returned home.

Someone to turn to.

Veterans will also be assigned a case manager– their shepherd and liaison during their journey. The case manager diagnoses the root cause of homelessness and identifies any barriers that need to be addressed. This might include addictions, mental health issues, prior evictions, an existing criminal record and any other challenges that need to be addressed and overcome moving forward. A plan is developed between the case manager and the veteran as to what needs to be accomplished and in order for them to be housed again.

We work on getting them income first, and housing second. Whether the veteran is seeking employment or benefits, an income is essential to ensuring the veteran will be able to remain stably housed.

The ultimate goal.

Each veteran’s story is different. Maybe he just needs to develop trust again. Maybe he needs a little guidance toward the right resources. Because every veteran’s challenges are unique, his journey could take anywhere from a couple months to a year. At the end of the day, Volunteers of America’s final goal is to equip veterans with the skills to support themselves and maintain stable housing.

Donate your car or truck to Volunteers of America.

If you would like to play a significant part in a homeless veteran’s journey, consider donating your car, truck, motorcycle, boat or RV to Volunteers of America. Just fill out our online form or give us a call at 614-870-7500 for more information. We offer free same-day towing and you could even receive more for your car on your tax return as a charitable contribution than you would selling it on the market. It’s that easy because there are no limits to caring.