The annual Point-In-Time Count to identify where and who are homeless estimates 8% of the homeless in Texas are veterans. The count also seeks to identify what they need.
“Preventing at-risk individuals from falling through the cracks then becoming homeless is a top priority today. Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) teams across the state are committed to serving veterans at risk and those that have become homeless with veterans’ programs such as Veterans Employment Services (VES),” said Paul Julio, TVC VES Central Texas District Outreach Coordinator. “So, the next time you pass by a homeless camp, keep in mind that Point in Time has probably encountered them; but, they are still in need of life changing assistance from community organizations like us.”
When encountering and assisting a homeless person, Tony Ramirez, TVC VES Central Texas District Manager offers these best practices
- Listen attentively to identify barriers that can be helped by community partners and perform a warm handoff when possible. This includes housing, food, clothing, utility assistance or other community resources
- With the veterans permission, introduce yourself to the veterans case manager from external organizations to build on partnerships & to help with follow through form the veteran
- Follow up with veteran a little more often then you would with non-homeless veterans in order to assist them in staying on track
- Create resource packets to hand the homeless veterans that contain materials for local community resources such as food banks, clothing closets, free cell phones and more.
TVC teams around the state partner in events such as homeless veteran stand downs. These events offer homeless veterans and their families a diversity of services, assistance and basic items. These range from medical service, grooming and hygiene items to TVC assistance with Claims. A homeless veteran stand down was recently held in Corpus Christi, read Stand Down. (link to Corpus event story).
Additionally, TVC’s Fund for Veterans Assistance provides grants to local organizations providing housing assistance.