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Assisting Homeless People
Working to end homelessness
In 2017, over 553,000 Americans were homeless. 40 million people struggle with hunger and 40.6 million officially live in poverty.
Volunteers of America works to prevent and end homelessness through a range of support services including eviction prevention, emergency services, transitional housing and permanent affordable housing. Once we engage homeless individuals, including youth and families with children, we stay with them for as long as it takes to return them to self-sufficiency.
"If it weren't for Hope House, I wouldn't be here talking to you right now." - Lee Ann, a former homeless woman who transitioned into her own place after staying at one of our emergency shelters.
How We Help End Homelessness
We reach out to homeless individuals through street outreach and mobile outreach services and once we engage with homeless individuals, youth and families with children, we provide assistance that ranges from paying a first month’s rent to offering permanent supportive housing so that people with disabilities can become stable and productive members of their communities. In 2017, we helped over 100,000 homeless individuals.
We have found that, without supportive services, housing is often not enough to end homelessness. From helping homeless youth, to providing assistance in obtaining disability benefits, to providing transportation, to offering intensive job training assistance to homeless veterans, we operate a number of innovative supportive services programs to support our efforts of ending homelessness in America.
While permanent housing, often coupled with supportive services, is the best way to end homelessness, many individuals and families need short-term stabilization before they can find housing that will meet their long term needs. That’s why Volunteers of America, for over 123 years, has provided emergency assistance to homeless persons in the form of homeless shelters.
Since homeless persons can be reluctant to leave the streets and accept emergency shelter or transitional housing, we operate drop-in centers — places where homeless youth or adults can get off the streets and find a temporary safe haven. And often, when homeless persons begin to trust drop-in center staff, they agree to leave the streets and enter transitional or permanent housing.
Permanent Supportive Housing
For a significant number of homeless Americans with mental or physical impairments, often coupled with drug and/or alcohol use issues, long-term homelessness can only be ended by providing permanent housing coupled with intensive supportive services.
Our transitional housing programs are operated with one goal in mind — to help individuals and families obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible. Our programs serve diverse populations — from women and children who are victims of domestic violence to homeless veterans who have spent years living on the streets.