Nationwide, nearly 38,000 veterans find themselves without a home. Veterans make up approximately 9% of all homeless adults. Today, Veterans Day, provides a moment to recognize the many commendable efforts to reduce homelessness among those who have served our country in uniform.
Nebraska offers laudable examples. Two weeks ago, about 100 runners participated in the 11th annual Warrior Run in Gering, to raise funds to help veterans who face emergency situations including homelessness.
“In the past few months we’ve had a lot of homeless veterans come to us,” event organizer Dave Wolf told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald. “We work with a federal agency to supply them with a hotel until they can get into a home. We’ve got about 10 or 12 homeless veterans off the street this year.”
In Omaha, a partnership of 20 nonprofits known as the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless coordinates with federal agencies to make sure that homelessness among veterans is among their priorities.
Ninety formerly homeless veterans live at Victory Apartments 1, at 825 Dorcas St. south of downtown, renovated by Burlington Capital Real Estate. A variety of organizations provide activities for the veterans. For the project, Burlington partnered with the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and local housing authorities.
Progress is continuing there, as Burlington begins renovation this month to provide 60 apartments at a four-story building next door. The opening is expected in a year. The waiting list currently is between 130 and 150.
Similarly, Burlington renovated the 70-unit Victory Park Apartments on the Department of Veterans Affairs campus in Lincoln, and the complex is now full.
Lincoln as a whole deserves particular commendation for its efforts to reduce veterans’ homelessness. It’s one of 78 communities recognized as part of a national effort to effectively end homeless conditions for local veterans.
Coordination among a wide-ranging set of agencies and nonprofits was the essential ingredient for Lincoln’s success.
These efforts across the state are paying off. During 2011-18, the reported number of homeless veterans in Nebraska fell by 44.8%. That’s a great tribute to the hard work and vision by Nebraskans striving to make sure these veterans receive the support they certainly deserve.