Help the Homeless this Holiday Season

This holiday season, nearly 600,000 Americans will spend the holidays homeless and without proper shelter or food. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and affiliated government organizations are standing together to help end homelessness. You can also commit to being part of the solution. In a time of giving, helping others, and spreading holiday spirit, Benefits.gov has resources available to help our fellow citizens in need. Take time to review the various benefit programs and resources within the following categories and share them with individuals and families in need:


Housing

For those in need of shelter, the Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Program managed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assists individuals and families who are homeless or at risk for homelessness locate and move into transitional and permanent housing. Youth between the ages of 16 and 22 can apply for the Transitional Living Program for Homeless Youth, which provides stable and safe living accommodations for up to 21 months. This program also provides services to help young people develop the skills necessary to move toward independence and life as healthy, productive adults by working with more than 191 community based residential centers across the U.S. You can also look for local shelters on the Homeless Shelter Directory and share the information with those in need.

Food & Resources

Those experiencing or at risk of homelessness may qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a national food help program. This program works with state agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that individuals eligible for nutrition assistance can access available benefits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) manages this program and provides more information about the program on their website. You can also find local food banks that provide food and nutrition to individuals and families in need by visiting FeedingAmerica.org. Often times, local shelters and food banks are looking for volunteers over the holidays.

Resources for Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has several programs to help homeless veterans and their families. The Homeless Veterans Assistance Program helps veterans return to employment, find safe housing, and provide health care and mental health services. The VA also offers a wealth of homeless veterans programs through the Homeless Veterans Assistance Center that offer residential rehabilitation, grants and per diems, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment and other residence programs all catered to helping our veterans.

Homelessness is an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans today and in order to see real change, America must work together and take action toward ending homelessness. You can start here by educating yourself on the issue, volunteering in your community, and sharing these resources with a friend or stranger this holiday season. For more information on benefits you may be eligible to receive, we encourage you to visit Benefits.gov and complete our Benefit Finder questionnaire.

 

Housing
Food/Nutrition