9 Best Charities for Homeless Veterans (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities for Homeless Veterans (Complete 2022 List)

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Dennis Kamprad

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In the US, more than 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. They struggle with the same problems that many who are homeless face: lack of affordable housing, decreased access to healthcare, and difficulty obtaining a livable wage – but some additionally struggle with PTSD or substance abuse disorders. Many homeless veterans need help getting back on their feet in order to transition to civilian life. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for homeless veterans?

The best charities that support homeless veterans are U.S. Vets and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. Others such as The American Legion and Easterseals provide local assistance for homeless veterans to find safe housing. 

Whether you want to help provide homeless veterans with housing, improve their success with getting a job, or change laws and legislation to improve their lives, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for homeless veterans are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Homeless Veterans Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. All of these charities provide assistance for homeless veterans in the United States.

Some assist at the individual level to help homeless veterans find safe, permanent housing. Others lobby at the state and federal level to make laws and regulations to prevent further homelessness and to help veterans who are already homeless. However, they all share the same goal; to improve the lives and livelihoods of homeless veterans. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Homeless Veterans

Below are our favorite charities for homeless veterans:

  • U.S. Veterans Initiative (U.S. Vets)
  • National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
  • The American Legion
  • Disabled American Veterans
  • Volunteers of America
  • Veterans Inc.
  • Easterseals
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
  • Operation Dignity

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

U.S. Veterans Initiative (U.S. Vets): Housing, Employment, and Mental Health for Vets

U.S. Veterans Initiative (commonly referred to as U.S. Vets) was founded in 1993 by judge Harry Pregerson who wanted to help house homeless veterans. Since their founding, they have grown to provide services on 11 sites in five states.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives U.S. Vets 100 out of 100 points for finance and accountability .GuideStar gives them the platinum seal of transparency. 

“We believe all veterans deserve every opportunity to live with dignity and independence. It is our duty at U.S.VETS to deliver on our promise to always serve those who’ve served.”

U.S. Vets

What they do: U.S. Vets serve veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They do this by offering emergency housing, transitional housing, and assistance finding permanent housing. They also offer employment assistance and career counseling, as well as mental health services

What they’ve achieved: U.S. Vets help over 20,000 veterans overcome the obstacles of homelessness annually. For example, in 2020, they provided 425,738 “bed nights” and helped 7,500 vets either acquire housing if they were struggling with homelessness or prevented vets from becoming homeless. They also placed 993 vets in jobs to help them become more self-sufficient. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to U.S. Vets directly on their website. You can also volunteer your own time or hire a veteran if you are an employer.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans: Shaping Public Policy

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans was founded in 1990 by 6 Vietnam War veterans to end homelessness for all veterans. Today, they are considered the leading authority in giving care to homeless veterans. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans a perfect score of 100 out of 100 for finance and accountability. GuideStar gives them the platinum seal of transparency.

“T​​he National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) will end homelessness among veterans by shaping public policy, promoting collaboration and building the capacity of service providers.”

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

What they do: The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans works with lawmakers to shape public policy and legislature to end homelessness for veterans. They connect veterans with housing resources and increase the development of affordable housing for veterans. 

What they’ve achieved: The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans is recognized as a leading entity to shape policy for veterans and are often asked to testify in front of Congress. Since 2008, they’ve given 30 testimonials on behalf of homeless veterans. They have also allocated more than $700 million dollars to improve and expand services for homeless veterans. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. You can also follow them on social media

American Legion: Enhancing the Well-Being of America’s Veterans

American Legion was founded in 1919 by a group of 20 officers including Alvin C. York and Theodore Roosevelt Jr. They felt that supporting veterans was a way to boost overall troop morale. Today, the American Legion has over 2 million members in 55 departments.

Their impact and transparency ratings: GuideStar gives the American Legion a silver seal of transparency. 

“To enhance the well-being of America’s veterans, their families, our military, and our communities by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.”

American Legion

What they do: American Legion created a taskforce to assist homeless veterans find and get access to help and they provide direct services to assist with immediate needs such as emergency housing, with contacts in all 50 states. They also lobby for better policies to help homeless veterans. 

What they’ve achieved: To date, the American Legion has given over $30 million to American veterans in financial crisis. Between 2020 and 2021, the American Legion provided 617 homeless outreach programs

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the American Legion on their website. You can also support them by shopping on their online store.

Disabled American Veterans: Developing New Housing Opportunities

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) was founded in 1920 by a group of veterans, including Robert S. Marx, to ensure that disabled veterans returning from war had access to assistance. Today, they boast over 1 million members, and there are 1,200 chapters across the US.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Disabled American Veterans a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives them the platinum seal of transparency. 

“We are dedicated to a single purpose: empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity.”

Disabled American Veterans

What they do: Disabled American Veterans works in partnership with local and federal governments to develop housing opportunities for homeless veterans. They also assist disabled and homeless veterans to find employment. Their local offices assist veterans find and apply for any military or V.A. benefits earned while in service.

What they’ve achieved: Disabled American Veterans assists over 1 million veterans every year. For example, in 2021, they were able to help veterans get $25 billion in earned benefits and helped with 6,500 job placements for homeless and disabled veterans. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Disabled American Veterans on their website. You can also volunteer or help them advocate for better legislation to benefit homeless veterans. 

Volunteers of America: Giving Back to Those Who Gave Their All

Volunteers of America was founded in 1896 by Ballington and Maud Booth in order to help and uplift all people in America, including homeless veterans. Today they operate in 46 states and help an estimated 1.5 million people annually.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Volunteers of America a score of 94 out of 100 for finance and accountability. 

“Our work touches the mind, body, heart — and ultimately the spirit — of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services.”

Volunteers of America

What they do: Volunteers of America provides homeless veterans with transitional housing. In addition, they also offer services to help homeless veterans with substance abuse disorders and other mental illnesses. Some local branches also help homeless veterans find employment

What they’ve achieved: Volunteers of America help over 10,000 homeless veterans with housing, employment, and mental health services annually. They estimate that over 50% of those who live in their transitional housing find stable, permanent homes in 6 months. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Volunteers of America. You can also volunteer at a local chapter near you. 

Veterans Inc.: Homes, Healthcare, and Employment for Homeless Veterans

Veterans Inc. was founded in 1990 by a group of Vietnam War Veterans in Massachusetts to help fellow veterans who were homeless. Today, they continue to offer services to end veteran homelessness. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Veterans Inc. a score of 99 out of 100 points for finance and accountability. GuideStar gives them a platinum seal of approval. 

“When it comes to helping veterans, we don’t just work to address their immediate needs; we give them the tools to rebuild their lives, helping them to regain self-sufficiency and reconnect with their family, friends, and community.”

Veterans Inc.

What they do: Veterans Inc. is best known for their housing services. They provide emergency, transitional, and long-term housing for homeless veterans. They also provide wellness programs and employment support, training, and placement to help end the cycle of homelessness. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Veterans Inc. have helped over 85,000 homeless veterans find housing and employment. They also boast a rate of 85% for transitioning veterans out of homelessness – one of the highest in the country.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Veterans Inc. on their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering your time. 

Easterseals: Helping Homeless Veterans Find Jobs

The Easterseals was founded in 1919 to serve underprivileged populations including homeless veterans. Today, they provide support for homeless veterans and their families across the United States. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Easterseals 85 out of 100 points for finance and accountability. GuideStar gives them the silver seal of transparency.

“Easterseals specializes in identifying the needs of veterans and military families, particularly with employment, job training and family respite opportunities.”

Easterseals

What they do: Easterseals helps homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness. They do this by providing job training and placement through their local chapters. They also advocate at the federal and state level for legislation that helps veterans. 

What they’ve achieved: Easterseals helps an estimated 1.5 million people every year. More specifically, they’ve helped 2,700 veterans find job placements in the Washington Metropolitan area alone.

Ways to contribute: You can make a direct donation to Easterseals on their website. You can also help them advocate for better legislation or volunteer with a local chapter. 

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: Giving Homeless Veterans Resources

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America was founded in 2004 by Paul Rieckhoff and Yannick Marchal to connect and support post 9/11 veterans. Today, they offer a variety of services for homeless veterans to find housing and get support for mental illnesses. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives them their platinum seal of approval. 

“IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite, and empower post-9/11 veterans.”

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

What they do: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America offer several services to all veterans, including specific services to homeless veterans. They help homeless veterans find safe housing. They also assist with employment placement, accessing VA benefits, and mental health services.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have helped tens of thousands of veterans with their services and they now have more than 425,00 members. For example, in 2021 alone, they helped over 5,200 veterans with 27% of these veterans choosing to use them again when they needed more assistance. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America on their website. You can also support them by buying their merchandise through their online store. 

Operation Dignity: Providing Mobile Outreach for Homeless Veterans

Operation Dignity was founded in 1993 by Vietnam War veteran, Alex McElree. Alex had previously struggled with homelessness and substance abuse so he wanted to help fellow veterans in similar situations. Today, Operation Dignity continues to provide services to homeless veterans in the Oakland, California area. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Operation Dignity 84 points out of 100 for finance and accountability. GuideStar gives them their gold seal of transparency. 

“Operation Dignity serves homeless and at risk veterans, their families, and the communities they live in.”

Operation Dignity

What they do: Operation Dignity provides transitional housing and permanent housing for homeless veterans. They also offer mobile outreach services to provide basic needs to homeless people on the street.

What they’ve achieved: Operation Dignity helps an estimated 1,000 veterans annually. For example, in 2021, they served 200 homeless veterans and 83% of these veterans in their transitional housing program moved on to secure permanent housing. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Operation Dignity via their website. You can also volunteer or send them items from their wishlist.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for homeless veterans. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to homeless veterans – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Dennis Kamprad

Dennis is the founder of Impactful Ninja and passionate about enabling you to make a positive impact on the world & society. He started his professional career as a Sustainability Consultant and has worked on several social projects around the world. Outside of work, he is a passionate salsa dancer, fast runner, and multiple Ironman finisher.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

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