Many veterans living on fixed incomes are regularly starved of prices due to soaring statewide rent prices.
Last year, the Fountain Hills-based Veterans Medical Leadership Council provided more than $300,000 in rental assistance to more than 400 Arizona veterans and their families to prevent them from becoming homeless.
The council has seen an increase in demand for services and leaders of the group say they could use double the funding they have to meet the needs of veterans. The group provides resources and assistance to veterans who are on the verge of homelessness, unemployment and even suicide.
Veterans in need can apply for services including emergency home and auto repairs, help with utility bills and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans must be registered with the Phoenix Veterans Health Care System and must be assigned to a social worker to receive services.
Two programs under the council are the Returning Warrior and Navajo Relief programs. Since 2005, the Returning Warrior program has been helping veterans reintegrate into civilian life. Financial assistance and medical expenses that are not covered by the VA health care system are some of the services provided.
The Navajo Relief Program began in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 in Native American communities. The program helps Navajo veterans by giving them access to water, electricity and housing. Supplies are delivered by helicopter to Navajo veterans.
A grant of $7,500 for the Season of Sharing helped prevent 40 veterans and their families from becoming homeless.
2021 Season for Sharing campaign lifted $1.8 million for 164 Arizona charities, including the Veterans Medical Leadership Council. The annual grantmaking effort was established in 1993 by The Arizona Republic/azcentral. During this time, more than $72 million has been donated to charities across the state that help struggling children and families, seniors, students and teachers.
Lt. Col. Tom Eisiminger Jr., chairman of the Veterans Medical Leadership Council, said: “This isn’t a handout. They’ve earned it. It’s a travesty if a veteran ends up homeless and in the street.”
Donations to the Veterans Group can be made online at arizonavmlc.org/donate/. Donations to Season for Sharing are accepted year-round at sharing.azcentral.com or by texting “SHARING” to 91-999.
Roxanne De La Rosa covers the nonprofit community in Arizona. Join her at email@example.com.