SARATOGA COUNTY —For those men and women that faithfully served our great nation, it is disturbing to think that on any given night in this country 50,000 veterans are without a home. The Point-in-Time (PIT) count is an annual effort led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to estimate the number of Americans, including veterans, without safe, stable housing. It is one of the tools used to assess progress each year toward Veteran’s Administration’s (VA) priority goal of ending homelessness among veterans. According to the PIT, the estimated number of veterans experiencing homelessness in America declined by 55.3% from 2010 to 2022.
Despite this success, tremendous effort, and significant funding provided to address the issue of veteran homelessness, the issue continues to persist and requires unwavering commitment and attention. The Saratoga County Alliance to End Homelessness is committed to preventing and ending homelessness in all forms and is focused on supporting agencies like Veterans and Community Housing Coalition to positively impact veteran experiencing homelessness.
Since 1983, the Veterans & Community Housing Coalition (VCHC) has made it their mission to ease the suffering that homeless veterans face here in the Capital District. VCHC uses a multi-faceted approach with an array of different programs and services to serve those that bravely served us. One such program is the Saratoga Veterans Apartment Program, S.V.A.P., which provides affordable housing to veterans experiencing homelessness through 19 units scattered throughout Saratoga County. Subsidized rent and supportive case management is provided to the veteran while he or she transitions from homelessness to stable housing.
Having the pride of serving your country and then finding oneself in a state of homelessness can be an overwhelmingly stressful time. Many veterans not only face financial challenges but also mental health challenges and an ever-growing competitive job market. A veteran may have to learn how to acquire a primary care provider, a dentist, or assistance in obtaining life insurance. These services were previously provided by the military, once service ends it is up to the veteran to acquire these services. A veteran may also need to navigate the paperwork and process of obtaining benefits and services from the department of Veterans Affairs, and in many cases, veterans are not even aware of the benefits that they are entitled to. This is an all too common issue with veterans that have just separated from service and for our aging veteran population, which can significantly contribute to losing housing and becoming homeless.
VCHC Case Management works to complete the objective that all veterans within the program have the support and knowledge to navigate the ever-changing world. Case managers can assist in applying for SNAP benefits for the veteran, navigate obtaining benefits through the VA, assist in providing transportation to and from medical appointments, resume building and interview coaching.
The goal of VCHC is to help our veteran population meet the challenges of life head on. To serve those that served is not a choice as proud Americans, it is our duty. If you know of a veteran who is struggling and needs assistance with housing, or other issues, VCHC and the Saratoga County Alliance to End Homeless wants you to know there are caring professionals who are ready to help and serve.