The Veterans Administration is conscious of a need for help for Upper Michigan military veterans. Just this week, the VA reported a 12% decline in the number of Veterans classified as homeless, from January 2010 to 2011.
In the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin, homelessness may not be as visible as in metropolitan areas, but it still exists in these rural areas. It’s not so much people living outdoors or in cardboard boxes.
Instead, it’s people staying with friends, ‘couch surfing.’
According to statistics from the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness, there were 84 homeless Veterans in the Upper Peninsula that sought services from community agencies in 2010.
The total estimated total homeless population in the same region is 4,303, a nearly 80% increase since 2007.
To address the issue of Veteran homelessness, the VA has partnered with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide vouchers to subsidize rental housing for homeless Veterans and their immediate families.
The VA screens eligible Veterans and provides case management, while HUD provides the rental subsidies from its Housing Choice program.
There are currently 14 vouchers being used by Veterans in the Upper Peninsula, administered by the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center.
Additionally, the VA is meeting with local and state agencies and organizations to develop partnerships to address homelessness in the communities at the community level. A homeless summit hosted by the VA in Marquette, Michigan last month with over 50 people in attendance from community agencies and organizations.
If you are a veterans or someone who is and who may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838) or visit http://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/NationalCallCenter.asp.