The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) has updated its comprehensive guide to homeless services for veterans known as the Veterans Street Card for the sixth year in a row. The Veterans Street Card is a valuable resource to Cleveland’s homeless veteran community and has been replicated in cities across the United States. It is a front and back piece of paper that contains extensive, up-to-date information on resources such as shelters, meal sites, job training agencies, health clinics, chemical dependency services and other assistance programs. The Veterans Street Card lists all the services a veteran experiencing homelessness can access right from the streets, and they can fold it up and put it into a pocket or purse. The Veterans Street Card also lists bus routes to get to some of these services as well as information on how to get identification.
With the economic downturn, foreclosure crisis, and continually sluggish job market, homelessness among veterans has continued to increase in Cleveland, the Veterans Street Card is often the first piece of information a veteran receives when they become homeless. Typically, it is the key to finding food, shelter, and many other services that are critical to the persons’ circumstances. With the national goal to end homelessness among veterans by 2015, there are many more programs directed at Veterans. The Veteran’s Street Card lists all the services available to homeless people who had previous experience with the US military.
NEOCH will distribute 4,000 Veterans Street Cards to individuals, shelters, schools, police stations, and libraries. In 2013, the Veteran’s Administration opened a central resource center on Euclid Ave. which should be the first place that a vet enters on their path back to stable housing. It is hoped that the VA can distribute hundreds of Veteran Street Cards through this new center.
The most popular part of the NEOCH website is the page with our Street Cards (www.neoch.org/street_card.htm). The organization also publishes a general Street Card for any homeless person and a Family Street Card for the fastest growing population families. NEOCH encourages people or agencies to make as many copies as possible and to distribute them to those in need. The newest edition of the Veterans Street Card can be downloaded for free at http://www.neoch.org under Resources/Street Card. NEOCH can also mail a few copies by calling 216/432.0540.