Serving in the military, members may go from barracks to barracks until the end of their service. But what happens next? Veterans often leave their service with zero rental histories, credit, or money for a security deposit on a new home.
Veterans and their families may find themselves homeless, but Priority Veteran, in partnership with United Way of Central Alabama and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), works to ensure this doesn’t happen.
“They open the door for you and take care of most everything; first month’s rent, utilities, and all household needs,” said Emmanuel Macon, a U.S. Army veteran who recently obtained housing for him and his family through Priority Veteran. “Anything that I really need.”
The program started in 2013 and receives funding from the VA and Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF). Most recently, Priority Veteran renewed funding for $2,250,366.
“This money allows us to assist veterans all over the state of Alabama who are homeless or who are facing imminent homelessness,” said Director of Priority Veteran for United Way of Central Alabama Lula Skowronek. “This is our renewed funding for the 2022 fiscal year. So, we’re very fortunate that we are going to be able to continue this.”
With this funding, Priority Veteran can continue to cover startup costs like first month’s rent and utility set-up to help veterans into a safe and stable home. The program works by providing case management, making referrals to community organizations and developing a plan with each veteran to meet their specific needs.
Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Priority Veteran expanded its resources to house homeless veterans in hotels rather than shelters, since shelters weren’t a safe solution. This was the case for Emmanuel, who stayed at a hotel until he moved into an apartment through the VA’s HUD VASH program.
Now, Emmanuel says without Priority Veteran, he would be homeless. To see a full list of services Priority Veteran provides and who qualifies, visit their website.