Veterans’ Bridge Fund Project
One in four homeless people are veterans, with veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars increasingly joining the veterans of Vietnam and earlier wars. Often, when a homeless or near homeless veteran decides to seek help, there are operational hurdles that he/she must clear. For example, a new veteran with PTSD who is trying to transition back may discover that he/she will have to wait weeks, even months, for treatment or for a disability claim to be approved. During the interim he/she could become homeless. We hope to prevent this, with small bridge grants—money that helps a person across an “open space” in their life.
The Veterans’ Bridge project provides small grants to Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who are in transition and experiencing temporary setbacks, often as they wait for disability or other assistance. The Bridge Fund allows any congregation or individual, regardless of attitudes about peace and war, to do what all faith traditions urge upon them: help people in need. As of January 2012 the Veteran’s Bridge fund has supported 420 Iraq/Afghanistan veterans for a total of over $70,000 in support.
The Veterans’ Bridge Fund meets needs like:
- Deposits on housing to help veterans into public housing
- Payment of utility bills to prevent shut off
- Rent when a student’s GI funds ran out before graduation
- Travel expenses to reach a TBI training program
- Bus tickets to reach job or medical/counseling appointment
How does it work? Requests must come through caseworkers. If a veteran does not have a caseworker, please call the number below and we can recommend ways to connect with a caseworker. Our goal is that outreach workers with need requests be responded to quickly. We realize that emergency requests must be met promptly, and strive to get funds to the requesting agency or caseworker within a week. Sometimes we send a check to a utility company or rental agency directly in a veteran’s name when requested to do so by a veterans service worker. We have fielded requests from vet centers, Central City Concern, National Guard Family Support workers and so on.
Caseworkers can contact St. Luke Lutheran Church for more information by calling: 503 246-2325, extension 14
How can you help?
Congregations can establish their own Veterans’ Bridge Fund or donate to our central fund. Individuals may donate as well.
To donate: Make checks payable to St. Luke Veterans’ Bridge Fund and mail to:
St. Luke Lutheran Church Peace & Justice Group
Veterans’ Bridge Fund
4595 SW California Street
Portland, OR 97219-1690
If your congregation is interested in participating, please contact us.