Author Lauren McGowan is the Director of Family Stability for United Way of King County.
As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, I’m incredibly proud of the work United Way of King County is doing to end veteran homelessness. The men and women who served our country deserve a safe place to call home and an opportunity to thrive. That is why United Way invests in strategies to help veterans access food, shelter, housing and, most recently, jobs.
Despite having incredible talents and strengths, homeless veterans face many challenges and obstacles when it comes to employment. Translating military experience for civilian jobs, a fear of failing, mental and or physical health issues are among the barriers they face. To combat these challenges, United Way teamed up with Starbucks, Paccar, and The Boeing Company to launch the Veteran’s Employment Project in 2013. We contributed $200K to the endeavor. We also selected two outstanding agencies – Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) and Sound Mental Health – to work collaboratively to help homeless veterans gain confidence, meet basic needs, prepare for job interviews, and overcome barriers to employment. They also work tirelessly to cultivate relationships with employers and ensure employers have the support they need to train and retain the veterans.
In just two years, the VEP helped 155 veterans access jobs and helped 43 veterans move from homelessness into housing. The program helped veterans like Robert Pope find stability.
Learn how you can help veteran’s homelessness at Seattle Standdown.