WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW)– Veteran homelessness remains a prevalent issue in the United States, with vets comprising six percent of the nation’s homeless population.
The Wichita community is taking action to help local vets who are struggling. Local leaders launched a website to collect items, accepting anything from hygiene products to home goods.
Wichita resident and veteran Chris Reyes was previously homeless and says homeless vets do not usually seek help immediately, so it’s great to see the community lend a helping hand.
“I don’t know if there is a one-size fits all plan for everybody, but I know that the struggles are real,” Reyes said. “I have friends that are still fighting every single day battling their demons, and it’s really sad.”
Kenny Barker, Homeless Program Supervisor at the Robert J. Dole VA Hospital, says different organizations like Housing and Community Services and the United Way have partnered to provide veterans with more benefits.
“We feel like we’re very close to reaching this goal of functional zero, so we believe that this is just the prime time for us to work on a goal collectively,” Barker added.
The Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., is continuing its efforts to provide homeless veterans with more assistance.
Recently, the department awarded $11.5 million in legal services for veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
The funds will go toward providing vets with things like legal representation in landlord-tenant disputes, court proceedings and defense in criminal cases.
Isabel Flores is covering Washington, DC for KSN.com. She is a Broadcasting and Digital Journalism graduate student at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.