What You Can Do
WAYS YOU CAN HELP
Whenever I screen the film, people always ask me what they can do to help. The first thing I tell them is to get to know one veteran who is struggling – maybe they are a homeless Vietnam Vet whose been on the street for years, maybe they are an veteran of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan who has recently returned home and is struggling financially and looking for work. We all have resources and networks – and I know that if we each made the commitment to meet and help one veteran –progress will definitely be made. I know that sounds simplistic and that there are real issues that these vets are going through that require professional help. I also know that it can be hard to simply meet a veteran without some guidance. So what I suggest is that you:
Find and contact a homeless veterans service provider in your area by going here:http://www.nchv.org/network.cfm
Find a VET CENTER in your area by going here:http://www1.va.gov/directory/guide/vetcenter_flsh.asp
Find out who is coordinating a STAND DOWN in your area by going here:http://www1.va.gov/homeless/page.cfm?pg=6
Talk to a staff member and ask them what you can do to help. Find out what they need and I’m sure they will find ways to plug you in. I know that, before too long, you will feel like you are part of the solution ( because you will be).
HOST A SCREENING
One way a lot of people have helped is by hosting a screening of WHEN I CAME HOME. They’ve used these screenings to not only raise awareness of the issue, but to raise money for their local veterans groups.Find a location for the screening (your house, your local library, church, college…) and find a local veterans organization who might be willing to be part of the event. I think a great thing to do is to ask members of that organization to be on a panel for a Q and A after the screening. They can let the audience know what kind of work they are doing and what kind of help they need. You can also ask for a donation at the door and donate the money to those groups.
Like Herold says in the film, “If there’s something wrong … speak out about it!”. I’d say that with 300,000 veterans already homeless and a growing number of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans ending up on the streets as well, something is definitely “wrong”. We all need to let our elected officials know that we wont stand for this any more.
Contact the members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs
and the members of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
Ask them what they are doing to end this national disgrace. I am confident that we can create a real change in this country if we all speak up and get involved with the issue. I won’t stop working until every last homeless veteran is off the street and a new system is created to prevent returning veterans from ending up homeless as well.
All my Best,
Dan Lohaus, Director, WHEN I CAME HOME