At HOPE Atlanta, we’re supporting those who served. You can, too.

Let’s celebrate Veterans Day by helping those in need — because “homeless” and “veterans” don’t belong in the same sentence.

According to the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans, 40,056 veterans are homeless on any given night. While only 7% of the U.S. population can claim veteran status, almost 13% of the homeless adult population are veterans, making them about 50% more likely to experience homelessness than others. In Georgia, the statistics are equally staggering; Georgia has the fourth-highest percentage of unsheltered veterans.

The reasons are complex, ranging from PTSD and other disabilities to substance abuse to disadvantages in seeking civilian employment. And while there have been some positive signs in recent years that veteran homelessness in the U.S. is declining, an extreme shortage of affordable housing puts more of our heroes at risk.

In Georgia, veteran homelessness remains so widespread that HOPE Atlanta has a special program dedicated to helping them: Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF). Last year, HOPE Atlanta’s SSVF served 1,151 veterans. Many had been displaced due to rising housing costs or property selloffs.

“Landlord retention has been a challenge,” explained Latricia Nation, Director of Veteran Services at HOPE Atlanta. “The housing market is booming, so people want to sell their houses. People I assisted four years ago are right back in the program.”

That’s exactly how Reginald, a retired Army veteran and grandfather of 9, arrived at HOPE Atlanta. Although he had a college degree and had worked hard his entire career, including serving in the Vietnam War, he and his wife found themselves at risk of homelessness when their landlord of 6 years suddenly decided not to renew their lease.

“If you’re on a fixed income, it’s almost impossible to find something you qualify for,” he said. “One of my worst nightmares was being homeless.”

Adding to their troubles, Reginald had recently been diagnosed with cancer and had mobility issues. HOPE Atlanta stepped in to help Reginald with a down payment and a month’s rent on a new apartment and continued to cover half of the rent so he could focus on his health, get back on his feet, and even start saving money.

But, as inflation rises and affordability declines in Georgia, countless other veterans find themselves in similar situations. HOPE Atlanta helps by providing housing, outreach, prevention, and emergency services. This includes subsidies that assist struggling veterans with rent, helping them avoid eviction and homelessness.

Increasingly, case managers are seeing single mothers seeking services.

“The general population is mostly male ages 60–70% men of color, and in my program, we see the opposite,” said Nigel Dawson, program supervisor for HOPE Atlanta’s new Shallow Subsidy program. “It’s mostly women, largely single moms raising a child or two. They’re paying 60–70% of their income to rent, and their subsidy is to cut that down to half so they have money freed up to go back to school, or get a job. They can invest in their futures and become independent.”

Since veterans are more at-risk of homelessness than others, it’s perhaps no coincidence that Veterans Day and Homelessness Awareness Month both occur in November. Most people are already “aware” of veteran homelessness, so we want to challenge you to make a difference — especially now that the weather is turning colder.

Now in its third year, HOPE Atlanta’s Veterans Week of Service, sponsored by Montlick & Associates, aims to rally the community to help.

When our veteran clients are transitioning to permanent housing from homelessness, they often lack essential household items and food to stock their pantries. Those still unsheltered are in dire need of things like blankets and coats. You can help a veteran in need by donating food boxes and other necessities as we help them start a new chapter. Click here to download a list of supplies needed and drop-off instructions.

For a personal touch, consider including a handwritten note of encouragement with your donation. And don’t forget to share a photo on social media and tag HOPE Atlanta and Montlick & Associates!

If you believe that “Homeless” and “Veterans” don’t belong in the same sentence, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to help us support more Georgia veterans and their families.

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HOPE Atlanta

Our vision is to end homelessness and hunger for every Georgian.