CHICAGO — During ALA’s Annual Conference, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services highlighted new resources that librarians can use to help veterans who are homeless get back on their feet.
One call to the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3828) connects veterans who are homeless to a wide range of services, including health care, housing, employment and education. The hotline is part of VA’s nationwide initiative to end Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.
When library staffers encounter an individual who is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, VA advises them to ask if he or she served in the military—and if so, encourage him or her to call 877-4AID-VET or chat online at va.gov/homeless to be connected with the support services VA offers. The hotline and online chat are free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained responders, many of them veterans themselves, can connect veterans with the services they’ve earned.
Also available to libraries are materials such as brochures, posters, and wallet cards to help promote the hotline and other VA services for veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Visit va.gov/homeless/resource_center.asp to download and print materials.