The Faces of Homeless Veterans in America

Yvette Jones of Park Forest
Yvette Jones. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

I truly believe we are on this earth to serve one another. It is with great pleasure that I have been awarded the opportunity to serve our US Military homeless veteran population. Over the past five years or so, my work has brought me from the heartland to the big city and surrounding areas searching for suitable housing for homeless vets. All too often, doors are shut in their faces or the phone receiver suddenly goes dead when they call for help.

Our veterans are in a Catch 22 situation. They’ve served their time – in war, protecting us during times of peace – always with pride for who and what they are. When their time is up in the active armed forces, some of them come home just to discover they are homeless. There are also veterans who are living among us, and have been for years, in UHaul facilities, under bridges, in parks, in vacant buildings, with abusive friends and family members, in transitional housing, in substandard conditions and many other places that many of us don’t care to imagine.

Yet, through all these things, the veteran still stands proud and strong. He and she still wear their US Military branch emblem proudly. Tattered, torn or just worn, the Veteran stands tall.

This coming spring 2013, 235 HUD/VASH vouchers will be issued to deserving homeless military veterans within the city of Chicago and Cook County (learn more here).

Those of us who work with these homeless warriors hope to find more exceptional landlords, investors, property managers, and builders to partner with us to offer suitable housing to these deserving veterans.

This is just a small piece of the big picture. There are literally thousands of homeless veterans in the city of Chicago and suburbs. Many of them are looking for help them find suitable housing. There are sometimes obstacles in their way regarding rental history, employment, income, security deposits, and accessibility.

That’s where we come in. We sit down with the veteran to identity these minor issues and match them up with caring landlords, investors, property managers and builders to agree on one thing and that is how we can help house this homeless veteran.

I am fully aware that investment properties were created as a business for the owner and by no means am I asking for a handout for these veterans. What I am asking for a hand to help them.

As an Illinois Licensed Real Estate professional, I work to focus on the less fortunate, the homeless, battered and abused, low income single moms and dads, displaced and physically disabled. These are the voices of the unheard, the tears that fall, often unseen.

And don’t forget the children.

It takes the right village to care for people. If we do so, that work will strengthen us all.

Join us in our work to house a homeless US Military Veteran, a battered and abused man or woman, a low income single mom or dad, a displaced person or family, and the physically disabled.

Yvette Jones of Park Forest is an Independent Illinois Licensed Real Estate Agent, US Military Housing Resource Agent working with HUD and a Housing Choice Voucher Specialist. She can be reached at 312-593-8901 or by email at [email protected]