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Archive for April, 2011

Homelessness devastates anyone who experiences it. Building a successful life is impossible without the stability that comes from a safe and stable home. But homelessness has proven to be a particularly dire situation for America’s veterans, who represent a disproportionate number of all homeless people and who often suffer from mental illness, substance abuse and other health problems related to their military service.

Volunteers of America is proud to be one of the leading nonprofit organizations partnering with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs in its efforts to eliminate veteran homelessness in five years. We serve more than 7,000 homeless veterans a year in 27 cities nationwide. Our services range from street outreach and temporary shelter to job training and substance abuse counseling.

According to VA estimates, approximately 107,000 veterans are homeless in America on any given night. The number who experience homelessness at some point during the year is twice that. Only 8 percent of Americans are veterans, but veterans make up more than 20 percent of all homeless people in this country. Most of these men and increasingly women served during the Vietnam War era. But a growing number are younger, having served in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Most of these homeless veterans suffer from mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, or a combination of problems that have contributed to their homelessness. Some returned from their military service with post-traumatic stress disorder or other factors that contributed to their situations. They need much more than just a roof over their heads to build a stable life off the streets. These veterans need a combination of services, provided by those who understand their unique needs, which target all the reasons why they became homeless in the first place.

At Volunteers of America, we have always taken a comprehensive approach to helping the people we serve. We know that a single meal or a place to sleep isn’t going to change someone’s life over the long term. People experiencing chronic homelessness, whether they are veterans or not, need a spectrum of services that address all of the problems that prevent them living their best lives.

It is unacceptable that anyone in America today should live on the streets without the basic necessities of life and especially those who risked their lives to protect our country. Please support Volunteers of America so we can help provide shelter and restore dignity to these worthy people.

– By Mike King, National President and CEO, Volunteers of America

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American society faces an enormous cultural shift, sparked by our rapidly-aging population, which will affect workplaces, healthcare and public policy for years to come. Today, women over age 60:

  • Make up a rapidly growing percentage of the people retired or facing retirement;
  • Make up 80% of the caregivers for chronically ill or aging relatives; and
  • Have a longer life expectancy than men.

We invite you to join us for:

Women and Aging 2011: Policy Implications for an Aging Population
National Press Club

529 14th Street, NW 13th Floor, Washington, DC
May 10, 2011, 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Sponsorship Opportunities Available

Learn more about the event and please share your caregiving and aging success stories, thoughts, fears and comments.  As Joan Rivers proves – no matter who you are, it’s not easy talking about aging.

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