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July 30, 2013 > Abode receives grant to aid homeless veterans

Abode receives grant to aid homeless veterans

Submitted By Katie Derrig

"Old soldiers never die," General Douglas MacArthur famously said in his farewell address to Congress in 1951. "They just fade away."

For too many modern soldiers, however, this "fading away" is no gentle passing into sentimental legend. Instead, many of today's veterans fade into a contemporary kind of invisibility - the social invisibility of the person sleeping under a bridge, in a car, or on a friend's floor.

Veterans constitute about 1 in 7 of the people in the U.S. who experience homelessness. These homeless veterans include men and women, old and young. Some were in the wars that General MacArthur himself fought; others have fresh memories from Kabul or Baghdad.

All of them came back from their service hoping to return to a happy and peaceful niche in civilian life. However, some - because of difficulty finding a job, the lack of a support system back home, or health problems that followed them to the U.S. - were left without the help they needed to establish a life for themselves and their families.

Fortunately, there are services available in Alameda County to help these veterans find a home.

Thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 400 homeless veterans and their families in Alameda County will secure housing and services in the coming year. The program receiving funding, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), is provided by a coalition of Alameda County nonprofits.

Alameda County SSVF is led by Abode Services, one of the Bay Area's largest and most effective providers of housing services. Its partners in this effort include Operation Dignity, Building Futures with Women and Children, and LifeLong Medical Care. Each nonprofit has years of experience in providing essential services to vulnerable people, helping families and individuals work toward stability, self-sufficiency, and well-being.

"When we think about all that American veterans have given for this country, it is unconscionable to see how many of them are without a home," said Louis Chicoine, Executive Director of Abode Services. "We can and must do better - starting with the 400 veteran families that we and our Alameda County SSVF partners will house in this coming year."

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