New VA Campaign Touts Toll-Free Number to Help Veterans Combat Homelessness

The Veterans Administration launched a new awareness campaign this week that will promote its toll-free hotline to help homeless veterans and those on the brink.

The “Make the Call” campaign will hit about 30 cities nationwide starting today in Anchorage, Alaska. The VA urges families and community members to learn about the services it provides to homeless veterans and how they can help combat the growing problem. About 135,000 veterans will spend at least one night in a shelter this year, and more than 75,000 are homeless on a given night.

The VA created a toll-free hotline in March 2010 that’s staffed around the clock by trained homeless prevention specialists. Veterans, family members and the community at large are encouraged to call 877-424-3838 (877-4AID-VET) if they know of a veteran at risk or in need.

“Those who have served this nation as veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope,” VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said in a news release. “Working with our partners in state and local government, the nonprofit and the private sectors, we can restore our homeless veterans and their families to the lives of dignity they’ve earned.”

The “Make a Call” campaign will hit 22 states and the District of Columbia over the next few weeks.

The VA has altered its approach for combating homelessness among veterans in recent years. The agency now focuses more on prevention and on providing housing vouchers and other permanent solutions rather than on temporary solutions and shelters.

To learn more about the agency’s homelessness programs, visit http://www.va.gov/homeless/.

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