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Depicting Veteran Homelessness
Issue 5 of 8


Depiction Suggestions

  • Look for ways to show Veterans overcoming their obstacles and seeking support to secure safe, stable housing and related services. Veterans may feel they’re the only ones experiencing homelessness or may consider it a sign of weakness to seek help and discuss their problems with others. Where possible, characters can reflect how much strength it takes for Veterans to seek the help that they have earned.
  • Attempt to explore how Veterans can use their military training, skills, and strengths to reintegrate successfully into their communities and take on positions of leadership. Veterans often return home with powerful capabilities, making them ideal professionals and students.
  • Consider, when appropriate, showing the varying forms of homelessness. Not all Veterans who are homeless live on the street or in a shelter. A Veteran may be considered homeless if he or she is “couch surfing” between the homes of family members and friends.
  • Try, when possible, to include information about VA’s National Call Center for Homeless Veterans (877-4AID-VET) to increase awareness that help is available.
Did you know?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program is a joint effort between HUD and VA. Veterans and their families use HUD rental vouchers to secure housing while they receive supportive services from VA, including mental health counseling, substance use treatment, and employment assistance. The combination of stable housing and supportive services helps Veterans and their families overcome their challenges and achieve self-sufficiency. For more information, visit

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 In this issue...
Homelessness Among Veterans

  • Suggestions for Depicting Veterans and Homelessness
  • A Message from Brian Dyak
  • Did you know?
  • Partner Profile: Legal Aid Society of Louisville, KY.
  • Watch the 17th Annual PRISM Showcase on FX September 14th!
Brian NEW HeadshotA Message from EIC President, CEO & Co-Founder
Brian Dyak

When Service members complete their military commitments and return to civilian life, the transition can be difficult. Many have children to raise, families and parents to care for, communities to support, and degrees or careers to pursue. These responsibilities can be stressful for anyone, but Veterans must also deal with unique challenges. Careers and education put on hold can seem daunting to take up again. Following deployments, friends and family members once close may seem distant, separated by experiences that are hard to convey in words. All of these challenges, and others such as financial hardship, substance use, and poor mental health, can contribute to Veterans’ and their families’ becoming homeless.

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wide range of programs and services that help Veterans and their families find or maintain safe, stable housing. To help Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless get easily connected to these services and programs, VA has established the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, a free, confidential hotline, at 877-4AID-VET. One call connects these Veterans to the programs and services they have earned. By calling on this support, many men and women who have served our country are finding ways to deal with and overcome the challenges they face.

Our challenge is getting the message across that these services are available to help Veterans find shelter, health, and hope. Incorporating the suggested depictions (see end of newsletter) in your work will help promote these messages and make your stories more dramatic and your characters richer—all while helping Veterans discover their strengths, find help, and support one another.

 Resource for Veterans

The VA provides comprehensive and individualized care to Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, no matter when or how they served. Trained, supportive professionals, many of them Veterans themselves, are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to connect Veterans with the services they need to get them back on their feet. Make the call to help a Veteran access immediate help from the VA.
Click here to learn more!

Partner Profile: Legal Aid Society of Louisville, KY.

The Legal Aid Society of Louisville is going the extra mile when helping Veterans in need. In 2009, Legal Aid established the Kentucky Corps of Advocates for Veterans (KCAV) through funding from the Kentucky Bar Foundation. In 2012, with additional funding from AmeriCorps, Legal Aid was able to dedicate a full-time attorney to the program. KCAV focuses on providing legal services to low-income Veterans and emphasizes helping Veterans overcome legal barriers to finding or maintaining safe, stable housing. In the past year alone, KCAV has helped about 125 Veterans.

In one instance, a Veteran fell behind on mortgage payments and faced potential eviction. With help from KCAV, he filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy so he could continue living in his home. Another case involved a Veteran who was living in a homeless shelter and was owed months of Social Security insurance back pay. After KCAV stepped in and recovered his money, he was able to get an apartment of his own.

Roy Denny, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps legal fellow for KCAV, said the organization will be putting even more emphasis on helping low-income Veterans find or maintain safe and stable housing over the next year.

“The best partners we have are the homeless shelters. They see a lot of Veterans and are focused on helping homeless individuals,” Mr. Denny said. For this reason, Mr. Denny and his colleagues make sure to visit shelters where they hold clinics and seminars on the services provided by KCAV and VA.

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EIC's FREE Technical Assistance Resource
to the Creative Community!
To set up your own FREE First Draft Consultation with one of our experts contact Ashley Jupin:
or 818-861-7782
Watch the 17th Annual PRISM Showcase!
Premiering on FX September 14th
at 4:00 PM

Dr. Drew and G PRISM
This year's PRISM Showcase is hosted by
Dr. Drew Pinsky, Giuliana Rancic, and Orlando Jones.

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