Homeless Hoosier veterans struggle after federal aid cuts
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — They’re walking on our streets, and they need help.
As federal resources for homeless veterans are cut, the impact has been felt across Indiana.
Michael Tran is a 28-year-old, homeless, U.S. Army veteran.
“I mean, it’s rough,” Tran said.
He served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and says he used to help homeless veterans.
“It’s ironic, because now, I’m the veteran that needs help.” Tran explained.
He’s thankful he has a temporary bed at the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation.
“I’m not ashamed of where I’m at. I just made poor choices and ended up being here,” Tran explained.
Brian Copes the CEO of Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation said federal funding for homeless veterans is being slashed because of a shift in resources.
“For us, and it was a variety of different grants, we’re down about $1.26 million out of a $5.3 million budget. So, about a 25 percent budget reduction,” said Copes.
The Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation focused on helping 1,100 vets in Indianapolis last year, but the organization is part of a statewide network of agencies helping homeless veterans. As of Oct. 1, there are 83 fewer temporary beds for homeless vets in Indianapolis.
“It makes our waiting list longer,” Copes explained.
Copes said there are around 2,500 homeless veterans in Indiana. In Indianapolis, he said some 300 would be on the streets alone Friday night.
Courtney Coleman, 30, who also served in Iraq is one of those veterans.
“When we enlist, they promised us we’re supposed to be taken care of. You’re supposed to help our vets. You’re not supposed to take away from the funding. We sacrificed our time for everybody’s safety,” Coleman explained.
Copes said people can help by giving to a veterans service organization close to home.
If you or someone you know is a homeless veteran and needs resources, click on the sources below:
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation
- Veteran Health Indiana
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Homeless Veterans resources
The coalition for Homeless Intervention and Prevention told 24-Hour News 8 that fewer veteran families will be able to get rental help to find housing quickly.
The two organizations say they expect more cuts to happen next year.