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homeless veterans

More than 1.4 million veterans of all ages rely on government food assistance, but food insecurity is disproportionately common among post 9/11 veterans.

In the first program of its kind in the nation, the West Los Angeles VA has opened its campus to veterans who sleep in their cars. Officials say it's a less-than-ideal starting point to help homeless vets.

Two Miami men are charged with stealing items meant for homeless veterans that were worth more than $300,000.

Homelessness often looks different for veterans living in rural communities: Rather than living in the streets, they may be couch-surfacing, sleeping in their cars, or camping in the woods.

A growing number of homeless veterans are women. But there are few places that specialize in helping them get back on their feet.

HEP

A community leader and advocate for homeless people – especially veterans – has died. Bruce Fyfe served more than 23 years as chairman of the board at Clearwater’s Homeless Empowerment Program (HEP).

A Southern California project is transforming steel shipping containers into apartments for homeless veterans. They're inexpensive, durable, and surprisingly attractive.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

It was six years ago when President Barack Obama vowed to end homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015. Nearly a year later, that hasn't happened.

But there have been successes. Two states, Virginia and Connecticut, and dozens of cities like Orlando are considered to be at “functional zero,” having ended chronic homelessness among veterans. That means homeless veterans have an immediate system of housing and services at their disposal.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

There’s a growing movement to help homeless veterans by providing tiny houses – structures of only a couple hundred square feet. The idea has taken root in Eugene, OR, Kansas City and Huntsville, AL. Now, you can add St. Petersburg to that list.

The interfaith group, Celebrate Outreach, is embracing the tiny house concept and building on it.

For a start, their tiny houses are custom designed by students at the University of South Florida School of Architecture and Community Design.

Pasco Support Services for Veteran Families

The Department of Veterans Affairs has the goal of ending veterans’ homelessness by January 1. That means any homeless veteran wanting housing will get it within a month or less.

The less-developed nature of Pasco County has created additional challenges when it comes to finding, counting and serving homeless veterans.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Five years ago, then Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, set a rather lofty goal --- to eliminate homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015.

“If we don’t put a very ambitious target on the table so that all of us can go to work on it, we won’t get anywhere near close to eliminating homelessness amongst veterans,” Shinseki said in a YouTube video released in May 2010.

Tampa’s Athena House was founded specifically to help homeless women veterans.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

There’s a military tradition called a “Stand Down.” It’s when soldiers get a temporary break from combat for a shower, hot meal and peaceful night’s sleep.

Recently, Pasco County held a Stand Down for veterans in our community who are fighting a different kind of battle with homelessness, substance abuse or mental health issues.

When Veterans Affairs investigators visited the Veterans Benefits Administration's St. Petersburg regional office in March, they found a mess at an office with more than 21,000 pending claims considered backlogged.

The Tampa Tribune is reporting (http://bit.ly/1lrf1Uc) officials with the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General found records stacked in piles that made it difficult to locate some files.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A soft and comfortable place to lay your head - that's a simple request and it's a need that Cyd Deathe hopes to fulfill for 200 homeless veterans.

Cyd is president of  the Tampa Area Marine Parents Association and a proud mom of OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) Wounded Warrior Veteran LCpl Adam, USMC 03-07.

She's committed to providing 200 pillows for the Homeless Veterans Stand Down scheduled April 5-7 in Tallahassee. That's this Friday through Sunday, so time is short.

New Housing for OIF/OEF Homeless Veterans

Oct 26, 2012
Courtesy of the Fyfe family.

Almost 25 percent of homeless people are military veterans. Transitioning from the battlefield to a civilian job or school can be challenging -- especially if the veteran has unresolved problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Bruce Fyfe, chairman of the board at Clearwater’s Homeless Emergency Project, understands the plight of homeless veterans at several levels. Fyfe and his wife, Wanda, helped raise more than $1.6 million to build a 32-unit complex specifically for homeless veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.