The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that veterans make up about 11 percent of the country’s adult homeless population. Statistically, most are single, live in urban areas and suffer from mental illness, substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. Further, about 1.4 million veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks and poor living conditions in subpar housing. These are statistics that Kevin Jamison, chief operations officer for the Veterans Community Project, is working tirelessly to reverse.
An overlooked community
“We saw a lot of vets getting left behind and not getting services that they needed,” Jamison shares. After twenty years in United States Marine Corps and three tours in Iraq, Kevin knows the obstacles veterans face first-hand.
“People are under the misunderstanding that the VA serves every person who wore a uniform and that’s not true,” he states. “The VA has a specific definition of ‘veteran’ and that definition is not inclusive. We want to serve the veterans that aren’t served by the VA or other homeless agencies.”
Housing is one of many areas of support veterans are often forced to forgo. Others include access to nutritional meals, basic physical health care, mental health counseling, personal development, job assessment, training and placement assistance. The Veterans Community Project is aiming to lift veterans up by providing transitional housing and enabling access to exceptional 360-degree service solutions.
Bridging a gap
“There’s no time for these veterans to adjust,” Kevin urges. “They are brought from the streets to a shelter — instant change. There isn’t a personalized acclamation that happens. Then, when they go from a shelter back into their own homes, they’re alone; so, they go from this isolated environment to a hyper-socialized environment, back into an isolated environment. There’s no transition, there’s nothing or no one to help them.”
Kevin claims the lessons he learned as a soldier equipped him with the compassion to help others thrive.
“In the military, the mission is everything. Everyone is working towards one shared goal,” he explains. “When an obstacle is in front of you, you find a way to overcome it and believe in yourself. The military instills all of that in you.”
Whether they stormed the beaches of Normandy or persevered through the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation’s soldiers selflessly put our country and its values first. You can help support the Veterans Community Project by making a donation or volunteering your time.
Staff, [email protected]