For many Americans, military service is a means of gaining skills and improving future job prospects while serving and protecting our nation. But for about 67,500 U.S. military veterans who are homeless, that better future has yet to materialize. Those veterans who are homeless are more likely to have mental health issues, traumatic brain injury or experienced military sexual trauma, meaning that helping these veterans transition out of homelessness will require more than just providing shelter.

Recognizing the dire need for better housing and services for homeless and at-risk veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs recently launched an ambitious effort to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Veterans nationwide are eligible for comprehensive, coordinated access to health care, housing, employment, education, job counseling and training, and justice system assistance and benefits. Homeless veterans and those at risk of homelessness can gain access to VA services 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline, toll-free, at 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838).

All veterans and their families are eligible for VA benefits and services. If you are a veteran in need, or if there is a veteran in your life who needs help, please call the hotline or visit the VA homelessness resources website. Every veteran should have the opportunity to live in a safe, decent, affordable home.