In the coming years, our nation’s cities and towns will welcome home more than 1 million veterans. They will join more than 20 million veterans in the United States who have served our country since World War II. Each of these veterans brings tremendous talents and gifts. They all deserve our welcome, our acknowledgment of their commitment to this country and our sensitivity to the needs that they and their families face as they return to civilian life.
Elected officials and municipal staff can provide critical leadership and leverage local, state and federal resources to support the work of non-profits, military service organizations, faith communities, educational institutions, local businesses and foundations to ensure success in the post-service lives of all veterans. To help local government better support military veterans and their families, NLC is working with the Home Depot Foundation to target the housing rehabilitation needs of disabled veterans.
Knowing the extent of veteran needs in your city or town is a critical first step in making an impact. Not all needs are the same. Some veterans have experienced chronic homelessness and/or have severe injuries requiring long-term supportive services. Other veterans have more moderate disabilities that can improve with monitored treatment and therapy. Still others may require accessibility accommodations and are able to live independently.
Meeting the housing needs of veterans with disabilities is a first step towards successful reintegration into a community. Federal, state, and local resources can help, but they cannot do it alone. Partnerships with military service organizations, non-profits, faith communities, local businesses, educational institutions, and philanthropies are critical. The leadership and local knowledge of elected officials along with the support of municipal staff can mean the difference between success and failure.
Just as the housing needs of veterans vary, so do the resources available to communities. NLC's work on veterans housing will focus on identifying and replicating best practices used to meet veterans' needs effectively, efficiently and with all available resources