Information about Homeless Veterans

Frequently asked questions, facts, and more

Homeless Veterans2021-02-18T13:28:56-05:00

Frequently Asked Questions: About Homeless Veterans

How does The Journey Home accomplish its mission?2021-02-18T14:31:47-05:00

1. The Journey Home specializes in connecting Veterans to their communities and the community to their Veteran. This makes us different than most transitional housing facilities, and extremely capable for the mission to “end Veteran homelessness.” We honor, empower, and provide essential programming to homeless and at-risk Veterans for their journey to achieve and sustain health interactions, healthy connections and healthy relationships.

2. The Journey Home requires all residents to complete housekeeping chores, cooking their own meals, doing their own laundry and to participate in community activities and volunteer efforts.

3. Our core values center around rebuilding lives and rebuilding relationships with communities that love and support Veterans. A Transitional Housing Facility and our Harm Reduction Veteran Outreach programs are resources and tools that help us reach the ultimate goal, ‘ending Veteran homelessness.” These resources and tools don’t determine the outcome. It’s our philosophy that when health connections and healthy interactions between the Veteran and their communities are established with empathy and compassion and safety, homelessness is eliminated.

4. Homelessness involves issues of both a medical and/or mental health illness. We staff our programs and services with credentialed clinical and qualified social work professionals. These professionals are experienced and trained in assessing treatment and transitional needs of at-risk and homeless Veterans. They are skilled evidence-based decision makers, and in providing interventions and in supporting Veterans as they navigate their transition from uncertainty and homelessness into permanent housing.

5. The Journey Home does not give up on a Veteran. Nationally, an average of 20% of homeless Veterans entering a Transitional Housing Facility will be kicked out or denied services because of mistakes made or behaviors chosen while at a facility. At The Journey Home, less than 10% of our Veterans are removed annually or denied transitional services due to mistakes or behaviors chosen. House rules are maintained, daily living activities of self-care and cleaning of the facility are enforced, and the safety of every Veteran is protected. Yet yearly, between 70 and 75 percent of Veterans entering our transitional housing facilities are placed permanently into housing or treatment programs.

6. The Journey Home individualizes transitional plans for each Veteran using a defined evidence-based decision-making process that tailors each Individualized Recovery Plan (IRP) to the specific needs of the Veteran resident.

7. Our Board of Directors are expected to be active participants in Board program initiatives & integrity of services; budget planning and accountability; strategic planning; fundraising; and ongoing review/revision of TJH’s Mission, Vision and Core Values.

Who is Considered a Veteran?2021-02-18T14:32:24-05:00

The answer may seem obvious, but this classification is not broadly applied. In general, a Veteran is a male or female who served in the US Military (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard) in either active duty, Reserve or National Guard. There are additional definitions that impact Veteran classification and benefits.

  • Honorable Discharge verses Other Discharges: There are several discharge distinctions that classify an individual as a Veteran –
    • Honorable Discharge – Highest discharge received and indicates no issues or concerns during service or at the time of discharge.
    • General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions – This is considered to be a positive discharge, but with some issues or concerns during an individual’s service that would make them no longer eligible for duty.
    • Medical Discharge – Individuals who become sick or injured and can no longer perform service duty activities. These individuals may be eligible for VA compensation for service-connected medical issues.
    • Other Than Honorable Discharge – An administrative discharge that does not require a court-martial but is due to concerns related to an individual’s conduct. This discharge will impact future military service, benefits and service classification.
    • Other Military Discharges – A new recruit who cannot adapt to the military environment/culture and who has served for less than 180 days. These individuals are not considered Veterans.
    • Bad Conduct Discharge The result of a court-martial compared to an administrative discharge due to bad conduct, often followed by prison time served, and is a barrier to future military service, benefits and service classification.
    • Dishonorable Discharge – The result of a court-martial for crimes committed while in uniform. No military benefits or future military services is possible with this discharge.
  • Veteran Affairs (VA) Eligibility: Individuals who serve in active duty as enlisted or commissioned of any branch of the US Military for a specified amount of time and were discharged under honorable conditions or with a Medical Discharge.
    • National Guard or Reserve, and deployed actively by the President of the United States for a specified amount of time, are also considered VA eligible.
    • State deployment, or deployments ordered by State Governors, typically do not qualify a Veteran for VA eligibility.
What qualifies a Veteran for The Journey Home’s Programs and Services?2021-02-22T10:10:27-05:00

Individuals who meet the general definition of being a Veteran – a male or female who served in the US Military (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard) in either active duty, Reserve or National Guard – will qualify for The Journey Home’s programs and services. Depending on the need or circumstances, a Veteran’s eligibility for services is conditional.

  • TJH Transitional Housing Facility serves a –
    • Male Veteran who is VA affiliated or VA eligible.
    • Male Veteran who is classified as homeless, who served within a qualifying time frame in his branch of service, and who has an appropriate discharge status.
    • Male Veteran who is not a Registered Sexual Offender or pending sexual offending case the courts.
    • Male Veteran who does not require daily living support and who requires intensive inpatient treatment.
  • TJH Harm Reduction Veteran Outreach Program – Serves male or female Veterans, or spousal dependent of a Veteran who served for any amount of time with any military branch of the Department of Defense; either active, Reserve or National Guard.
How is a Transitional Housing Facility different from a Rehabilitation or Treatment Center?2021-02-18T14:13:42-05:00
  1. Transitional Housing Facility: Operates with social work and/or case management services that transition homeless or imminently individuals into affordable housing. Typically operating with a Housing First/Rapid Housing approach to social work and case management services include agendas that link individuals to programs, treatment, resources and/or relationships that support the transition from homelessness into permanent housing.
  2. Rehabilitation or Treatment: Medical, mental or behavioral health care given to an individual for an illness, injury or condition. The objective of “rehabilitation” or “treatment” type services is to eliminate or control adverse symptoms so an individual can function better and to increase their well-being and healing.
    • While Rehabilitation or Treatment Centers are programmed to address specialized mental health treatment conditions such as psychiatric care, addictions, eating disorders, etc., Transitional Housing Facilities are programmed to support individuals who are experiencing homelessness and require both shelter and assistance in securing permanent housing.
    • Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers have high-barriers restricting which type of patient referrals to a specific mental health, medical diagnosis or condition. In contrast, referrals into a Transitional Housing Facility are not linked to a medical or mental health diagnosis. A desire to end their homelessness, being without a permanent residence, independently capable of caring for themselves, and being non-violent and a non-sex offender are typical the only restrictions of most Transitional Housing Facilities.
    • Transitional Housing Facilities will offer specialized programming, and will often have credentialed and experienced professionals. However, these programs and services typically focus on reducing the harm or social and/or physical consequences associated with human behavior.
How Does The Journey Home Define “Homelessness”?2021-02-18T14:13:56-05:00

A Veteran who is either living on the streets; in their car; with a friend and/or sleeping on a couch; in a hotel being paid by someone else, and/or living in a home unfit for human habitation. An at-risk Veteran for homelessness may be one who is at imminent risk of becoming homeless for issues such as being evicted or other conditions that imminently impacts the loss of current housing.

The VA classifies a homeless Veteran as an individual who –

  • Lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and
  • Has a primary nighttime residence that is ––
    • a supervised publicly or privately-operated shelter designed to provide
      temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill);
    • an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be
      institutionalized; or
    • a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping
      accommodation for human beings.
What is Chronic Homelessness?2021-02-18T14:14:10-05:00

An individual who is disabled with a medical or mental health illness or disability, or who is suffering from PTSD or substance abuse issues preventing them from working or completing daily living tasks.  This individual must also be experiencing 12 consecutive months of homelessness, or four (4) different episodes of homelessness in the last three (3) years adding up to 12 months.

Chronic homelessness is a classification identified by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is a definition used by all Federal and State Departments or Agencies charged publicly or civilly to administer homeless programs and services, and classifies the degree or level of care that may be required in assisting these individuals to end their homelessness.

What are the demographics of homeless Veterans?2021-02-18T13:33:11-05:00
  • 12% of the homeless adult population are Veterans
  • 20% of the male homeless population are Veterans
  • 68% reside in principal cities
  • 32% reside in suburban/rural areas
  • 51% of individual homeless Veterans have disabilities
  • 50% have serious mental illness
  • 70% have substance abuse problems
  • 51% are white males, compared to 38% of non-Veterans
  • 50% are age 51 or older, compared to 19% non-Veterans
What Can I do?2021-02-18T14:14:27-05:00
  • Increase your awareness of issues impacting at-risk and homeless Veterans: For example, did you know –
    • It is estimated that for every 1000 Veterans 8 (.8%) of them are homeless today, despite the incredible impact the VA, Federal, and State Government Agencies have made since 2015 in reducing those numbers with new programs and services?
    • 9% of homeless Veterans are female and this percentage is rising?
    • One of every 100 Veterans (180,000 annually) surveyed are at risk of entering homelessness?
    • 252,170 Veterans live beneath the poverty line?
    • In 2017, over 666,000 Veterans paid more than half their income to rent expenses.

If we are going to “end Veteran homelessness” we have to work together as a community of individuals, neighbors, municipalities, cities and government officials. We can no longer assume this is the sole responsibility of the VA or Federal Government. It is time for all of us to reach out and serve those that served us.

  • Get involved: No matter your circumstances, you can make a difference. Find ways to do one or more of the following –
    • Ask “Are you a Veterans?” – Ask your neighbor, your friends and those you meet. If they say yes, thank them for their service and then ask them if they’re doing okay and offer your assistance as appropriate.


The Journey Home has found that when we are involved in disaster relief efforts, charitable activities or events that extend a helping hand, and we ask: “Are you a Veteran,” about 30% say “yes.”

  • Volunteer – Find an organization that you trust, and who serves Veterans, and offer your time and involvement in accomplishing their mission. Nonprofit organizations rely upon volunteers like you and others to help achieve daily operational goals.
  • Volunteer at The Journey Home – Call us, (765) 595-8297 or email: director@journeyhomevets.org. We need your help. For example, could you do one or more of the following?
  • Become a Volunteer Driver by driving Veterans to medical, VA appointments and/or regional errands.
  • Volunteer your leadership skills and expertise as a Board of Directors member or participate on a Board of Directors designated committee.
  • Serve on the fundraising committee or as part of an event committee
  • Introduce The Journey Home to your network of friends and associates. Tell them how you support our mission to “end Veteran homelessness” and encourage them to get involved.
  • Donate groceries, clothing, gift cards and household supplies
  • Participate in fundraising activities or develop a fundraiser for TJH
  • Make charitable contributions – The Journey Home’s Veteran outreach programs – The Harm Reduction Veteran Outreach Team (HRVOT) and Veteran Mobile Disaster Response Team (VMDRT) – serve Veterans locally, regionally and nationally providing social work, case management and Veteran support services to Veterans who are homeless, at-risk and/or in-need, and is solely dependent upon private donations.
  • Involve others.
    If you are not already part of an organization like The Journey Home, align yourself with a few other people who are interested in learning about and addressing this important issue.
  • Contact your elected officials.
    Discuss what is being done at The Journey Home in your community for homeless Veterans, and encourage their support and involvement.
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