“It’s not that I don’t want to help our Veterans. It’s that I don’t know how to help.”

You might be surprised to know how often I hear those words.

And that lamentation usually comes from a very genuine place. I know because I have seen firsthand how eager organizations and individuals across the country are to help Veterans in their communities get back on their feet. Many just don’t know where to start.

That’s why Military Outreach USA developed the Adopt-a-VA program. The program connects community organizations — such as schools, faith-based groups, and local businesses — and residents who are interested in supporting Veterans in their communities with a local VA medical center (VAMC) or community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC). These local adopters commit to helping VA provide support to area Veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness, at risk of becoming homeless or exiting homelessness.

Collaboration drives success

VA has a host of programs and services that help Veterans experiencing or at-risk of homelessness obtain housing, employment, and wrap around services that put them on track for long-term success. It is through these programs — like Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) and Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services — that VA has helped cut Veteran homeless by nearly 50 percent since 2010.

But VA can’t end Veteran homelessness on its own; that will take sustained, coordinated effort from us all. As grateful Americans, we have a responsibility to do all that we can to make