Saving Our Soldiers on the Streets
On any given night, as many as 300,000 veterans are living in homeless shelters or on the streets across the United States.1 American veterans are twice as likely to become chronically homeless, due in part to lack of transferable military skills, unemployment, and combat related physical and mental disabilities that sometimes lead to substance abuse problems. 1 According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of homeless Vietnam-era veterans is now greater than the number of soldiers who died during the Vietnam War. During a 2013 survey, over 12% of veterans who have been homeless for more than two years reported suffering from frostbite on multiple occasions.2 This same survey found that veterans are far less likely to seek help at a shelter and were more likely to die on the streets than homeless non-veterans.2
Black Star Surplus is dedicated to our nation and to our veterans. We want to help by donating military sleeping bags and weather resistant sleep systems to Americas homeless. We cannot afford to do this alone; we need YOUR help! Black Star Surplus is launching Project S.O.S.: Saving Our Soldiers on the Streets to raise money to help offset the costs associated with donating sleeping bags. We want to work with veteran’s groups, community outreach programs and other organizations around the country to provide America’s homeless with basic protection from the elements.
While we understand this does not solve the problem of homelessness, we can help be part of the initial solution by keeping those who are homeless dry and warm until other programs become available. This is a cause we are passionate about; most of our staff has either served in the armed forces or has a family member currently on active duty. We also hire individuals transitioning from incarceration back into the work force, doing our best to train and employ those who want to work. Although we are not new to donating to those in need, we want to increase our efforts.
The first group to be helped this year will be Sleeping Bags for the Homeless in San Francisco, California where an estimated 7,000 people are living on the city streets. We are already working closely with the organizers and hope to be able to help complete their project goals in the next few weeks and start on the next!
If you are a group or organization helping the homeless and interested in our program, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You must include your organization’s project details/needs, contact information and ZIP code.
1 National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
2 100,000 Homes Campaign, July 2013 National Survey