More than 400 VA Boston Healthcare System employees, Veterans and community members gathered at one of the three campuses (Brockton, West Roxbury, or Jamaica Plain) to walk and roll for the annual VA2K event to promote wellness and raise awareness for Veteran homelessness and hospitalized Veterans.
VA2K serves as a way to bond with others in a unique and healthy environment. Walking strengthens the cardiovascular system, tones muscles, increases flexibility and can help shed pounds and reduce stress. Even a moderate amount of exercise like the 30 minute, two mile VA2K walk can improve health. Linda Muldoon laughed with coworkers as they moved through the VA BHS Brockton Campus tunnels. Veteran, Roger H. had the day off from landscaping and used VA 2K to get in a dose of exercise—for the day—and bond with a high school friend.
Many participants donated generous amounts of personal comfort items to give VA BHS’s hospitalized Veterans a sense of home. VA BHS also received monetary donations that will help provide support to our ongoing Veteran homelessness initiatives which line up with the national mission to end Veteran homelessness in the U.S. by 2015.
VA BHS’s homeless program includes the Women Veterans Homelessness Program which provides:
Specialized treatment for women with a variety of mental health and substance abuse problems
Work on behalf of women veterans within the VA system and community agencies
Homeless prevention through collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services, Women Veterans' Network, and the Governor's Council
Assistance in navigating systems such as: courts, housing agencies, Social Security Administration, and Veterans Benefits Administration
Help in securing safe and affordable housing
Referral to the women's program at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans
Another homelessness program is the Housing and Urban Development Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing Program. HUD/VASH is a joint program of HUD Section 8 “Housing Choice” rental assistance vouchers and the VA Boston Healthcare System.
If you would like to donate personal comfort items for hospitalized and homeless Veterans please view the wish list (hyperlink wish list http://www.boston.va.gov/giving/wishlist.pdf ) ,and visit your local VA BHS Voluntary service office to drop off donations.
If you know a homeless Veteran or are a homeless Veteran please call the HUD/VASH Program Hotline at 857-364-4444 or 857-364-4947.