Spark Grants - Veterans Affairs
Veterans Affairs (November 2017)
More than 50,000 veterans plus their families live and work in Lehigh and Northampton counties. Despite the heavy concentration of veterans in the Valley, there is no local, major military installation nearby on which serving military guard and reservist families can rely while serving or to answer the questions and problems which arise upon and after leaving service. A study commissioned by the state found that Pennsylvania has an inconsistent provisioning of services and benefits, and an arcane and ineffective bureaucracy.
Grant Application Application Period Closed
The video voting campaign for Veterans Affairs will be held from Monday, November 6 to Friday, November 17. Grants will be announced by at our event on Monday, December 4.
MAKE A GIFT | 50th Anniversary Spark Grant Initiatives for Veterans Affairs
Gifts in the form of a check can be made payable to the Spark Grants - Veterans Affairs and mailed to The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, 840 West Hamilton Street, Suite 310, Allentown, PA 18101. Gifts can also be made via credit card by clicking the PayPal 'Donate' button below. A PayPal account is not required to make an online gift to the Fund. Gifts to the fund will be used to support the Community Foundation's funding of organizations in Northampton and Lehigh Counties who provide mental and behavioral health services and education.
MAKING THE CASE | VETERANS AFFAIRS
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, returning veterans struggle to overcome combat experiences leading to mental health issues and financial instability. These military service members experience trauma in the form of combat injuries, repeated deployments and relocations, along with military sexual violence. As a result of this stress, many veterans in the United States are homeless, mentally ill, and struggle with substance abuse.
With a lack of proper health care services these community members struggle to overcome their wartime experiences. The Lehigh Valley community is home to over 50,000 veterans some of which are struggling to overcome some of these issues. By sparking change, the community can begin to transform the lives of deserving veterans.
WHY DOES THIS ISSUE MATTER?
- By one annual count, at least 9 to 12 homeless veterans are living in the Lehigh Valley.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs offers more veteran services to surrounding urban areas, than to the Lehigh Valley– despite being the third largest metropolitan area in the state with one of the largest and heaviest concentrations of veterans. http://www.lv-mac.org/
- In the United States, 11% of the homeless adult population is veterans, 50% have serious mental illness, and 70% battle substance abuse. http://nchv.org/index.php/news/media/background_and_statistics/
- In Lehigh County, homeless veterans are as young as 21 and as old as 78. http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-hope-for-veterns-20150601-story.html
- In 2016, the Lehigh Valley Homeless Veterans Task Force had on average 20 veterans in their system. http://www.wfmz.com/news/lehigh-valley/lehigh-county-stands-up-for-homeless-veterans/21481618
- Every day, approximately 22 American veterans commit suicide, totaling over 8,000 veteran suicides each year. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/02/04/the-missing-context-behind-a-widely-cited-statistic-that-there-are-22-veteran-suicides-a-day/?utm_term=.253bc2e80ba5
- In 2014, Pennsylvania had 364,219 veterans between the ages of 18 and 64, which was 4.6 percent of the comparable population in the state. http://www.workstats.dli.pa.gov/Documents/Veterans_Packet.pdf
- In 2016, there were 530 Pennsylvania veterans claiming Unemployment Compensation benefits. http://www.workstats.dli.pa.gov/Documents/Veterans_Packet.pdf
- In 2014, the unemployment rate for veterans was 5.7 %. http://www.workstats.dli.pa.gov/Documents/Veterans_Packet.pdf
- In the United States, 51% of individual homeless veterans have disabilities. http://nchv.org/index.php/news/media/background_and_statistics/
Stats from our grant applications:
- There are 50,000 veterans living in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. According to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, twenty-two veterans are committing suicide daily in our country.
- 4,500 households in the Lehigh Valley region who have an identified veteran in the household over the age of 60.
- Local homeless shelters consistently report that a large percentage of the homeless men served each year are veterans. In previous years, these veterans were primarily older, but now about 50% of homeless veterans are under 50 years of age.
- Over 300,000 (20%) of the Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression; one in 10 Veterans is disabled, often times by injuries sustained in combat.
- In its 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development statistics indicate that nationally, 9.2 percent of homeless adults were veterans
- In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, approximately 1 in 10 soldiers seen in the Veterans Administration demonstrate problems with alcohol or other drugs.
- According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, 30% of active duty and reserve military personnel deployed to Middle Eastern countries can be diagnosed with a behavioral health concern that requires treatment
- According to the VA, more than 1.5 million vets sought help for PTSD and other mental health problems in 2014, including over 536,000 for substance abuse, and 535,000 for PTSD (of those, over 141,000 were recent veterans).
- According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are clear links between veteran substance abuse, depression, and suicide. Furthermore, "In one study that involved roughly 600 veterans who were deployed to either Afghanistan or Iraq, 39% of the vets were screened and showed positive for probable alcohol abuse." finishing the program.
- Feeding America estimates that 20% of people served through the network are veterans or have a veteran in their household. Locally, Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania (SHFB)
- Services for the homeless is a critical need to the Bethlehem community. According to the Lehigh Valley Coalition on Affordable Housing’s most recent Lehigh Valley Shelter Census (for 2010), there were a documented 2,441 homeless men, women and children who were housed in one of the regions emergency shelters during 2010. Important to Victory House’s target population, adult males represented 40.4% (951) of the total homeless population served during the reporting period – an increase of 6.6% over 2008.
- In 2016, Victory House provided services to 108 homeless males (46 homeless veterans) for a total of 10,797 shelter nights and 26,820 meals served.