Number of homeless vets sharply down thanks to coordinated efforts

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s just the latest way North Carolina is putting more veteran-related laws in the books.

Governor Pat McCrory held a bill signing Tuesday morning. The bill means income tax forms will now have a space to voluntarily fill out if you or your spouse is a veteran.

McCrory says it’s a way to better serve those who defend us by helping to figure out what the state needs to have as resources for veterans.

Many veterans who are down on their luck may not know what resources are available. That’s why one woman who works with them is going out in the community to find them.

In the past year, the number of homeless vets has fallen by 19 percent and is down 37 percent since 2012. That’s a record low, according to the State Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

New programs, cooperation among local, state, and federal groups, and coordinated efforts by the VA are contributing to the success.

Candace Parker is a homeless outreach social worker for the Department of Veterans Affairs. She actively changes the lives of homeless vets in the east.

“It’s my job to go out into the communities and engage with homeless veterans in shelters, soup kitchens, and other heavy populated areas,” explained Candace Parker, homeless outreach social worker. “Like it said, it’s to engage the community, finding our veterans, so that’s where my job comes in; locating homeless veterans that may not be aware of the services offered by the VA.”

Initiatives focus on getting homeless veterans into housing, then getting them involved in programs, job training, and into the workforce.

The efforts are now connecting those who served the country with education, health care, jobs, and housing.

You can help homeless veterans in the east! Household items, such as bathroom supplies, kitchen supplies, and cleaning products are needed.

You can also donate clothing, bottled water, and non-perishables. Here’s a link where you can drop them off.

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