Veterans at risk of or experiencing homelessness can now stay connected with their health care providers, case managers, and loved ones thanks to a nonprofit organization’s collaboration with VA.
America’s Adopt A Solider has worked with VA since 2010 on a multitude of services and support for Homeless and at-risk Veterans. The non-profit’s newest program keeps Veterans connected with VA care providers via a laptop and mobile phone donation program.
Some Veterans often lack the resources needed to remain connected with VA services and family members. And the need for telecommunication donations to promote connectivity with care providers became evident as many states across the country enacted stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic.
Mobile phone and laptop donations so far
America’s Adopt A Soldier has already provided VA with hundreds of smartphones and laptops, procured through public and corporate donations from Verizon and AT&T. These donations have been shipped to Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 21, which includes the Northern California Bay Area (San Francisco VAHCS, Palo Alto VAHCS, and Northern California VAHCS) and the Southern Nevada VAHCS.
The laptops and smartphones will go to Veterans currently in the Housing and Urban Development – VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), Grant and Per Diem transitional housing, and Health Care for the Homeless Contract Residential Services programs. As additional donations arrive from corporations and other organizations, America’s Adopt A Soldier will work with VA to identify additional VISNs in need.
“Having this Veteran population shelter in place without the technology to keep them connected, might result in catastrophic impacts and immeasurable setbacks to their treatment,” said Mary Keeser, founder and chair of America’s Adopt A Soldier and a former U.S. Army officer. “Many of these Veterans have worked so hard to get on a path forward. With VA by their side creating the correct treatment plan, we reached out to assist the staff – who also recognized this challenge – in providing the required technology. We are humbled to be able to help provide this technology.”
Assists with social distancing
Keeser’s organization used active duty military and Veterans to update and reconfigure donated laptops to make sure they were ready for use once distributed. The laptops allow Veterans to stay in contact with their VA caseworkers, family, and friends while also maintaining CDC guidelines for social distancing. All devices are equipped with Windows 10 and can be used at Wi-Fi hot spots. The organization receives donations and support from several large organizations, including Microsoft, AT&T, and Envistacom.
“Veterans can use the technology to access treatment plans and medical support, conduct job searches, continue their education, and of course, stay in touch with their social networks,” said Keeser. “A lot of our Veterans depend on those social connections with other Veterans and military organizations.”
VA remains committed to securing safe and stable housing for Veterans and helping them stay connected during these uncertain times. Donations from America’s Adopt A Soldier organization facilitate Veterans’ continued progress in their treatment plans and increase their ability to comply with safe distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness should contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).
- Anyone wishing to make a donation should visit https://www.americasadoptasoldier.org/makeadonation.html.