In preparation of Veterans Day, Burlingame-based is honoring its homeless veterans during a celebration at the organization’s Redwood City single adult shelter Thursday.
“The event is essentially a celebration and a tribute and gratitude to veterans,” said Communications Manager Maria Duzon. “[It’s to] really thank them for what they’ve done and put a lens on that situation.”
Veterans made up 10 percent of the adults served by Shelter Network last year, and one in six homeless adults nationwide is a veteran. At Shelter Network, the majority of the homeless veterans are returning from recent stints in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once they’re back, many lack a permanent home to return to or can’t find a job with their specific skill set, especially in a troubled economy.
“There’s just not much of a system set up for them to come back and integrate into everyday citizenship,” Duzon said. “It’s a travesty for these people who have done so much to serve our country.”
At the Maple Street Shelter where Thursday’s event will be held, 14 of the 76 individuals are veterans. One of those veterans will speak at the event, which also features staff speakers, a musical tribute and a proclamation from U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s office.
In addition to housing homeless veterans, Shelter Network keeps close relationships with Veterans Affairs offices to ensure veterans access available benefits and services.
In August of 2011, Shelter Network received a $753,399 federal grant to improve its veteran services. The grant was one of 85 nationwide from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Using the new funds, Shelter Network plans on instituting the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, helping veterans and their families find homes.
“Shelter Network is committed to helping families living on the edge or homeless secure and retain permanent housing, so it kind of matches our mission and vision quite well,” said Brian Greenberg, Vice President of Programs and Services. “It’s neat for us to be able to focus on veterans.”
The invitation-only program runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1580A Maple Street in Redwood City. Shelter Network operates six facilities in San Mateo County located in San Mateo, Redwood City, Menlo Park and Daly City. Of the transitional housing participants, 93 percent return to permanent housing.