National Guard, Reservists Peer-to-Peer Hotline Unveiled

You’re not alone… anytime, anywhere.

That’s the promise on the Vets4Warriors website and to drive home that point, the  National Guard has established a toll-free peer-to-peer counseling hotline for Guard members and Reservists. It’s anonymous to encourage service members to call and be open and honest about problems.

The counselors, who are former military, will help by matching up the callers with available services in their area.

It's okay to remain anonymous on the new Guard and Reservists hotline and at the other end, all the counselors are veterans.

The Vets4Warriors program is not a suicide prevention hotline, instead, it’s a chance to talk soldier-to-soldier about issues and challenges of reintegration with family, employers and community.

Members of the Reserve or Guard can call any time the call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Army National Guard will run the program that is based at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey which created a similar hotline for law enforcement officers.

  • The  toll-free number:  1-855-838-8255 (1-855-VET-TALK)
  • There’s also a LIVE CHAT online or email VETS4WARRIORS@UMDNJ.EDU with questions.
  • And there’s an Online Resources Library with links to self-care resources, free guides for military families, videos and mobile apps that offer help.

Veterans Homelessness Drops 12 Percent Survey Shows

Homelessness has been a stubborn problem among US veterans, but federal programs have started to show some real success. A just released survey shows that the number of homeless veterans dropped nationally by 12 percent between January 2010 and January 2011.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, called it a milestone that keeps him on track for ending homelessness among veterans by 2015.

“Most important, this new report offers welcome news for the tens of thousands of veterans we have helped find a home,” Shinseki said during a conference call with reporters. “This is a critical step, but our work will not be done until no veteran lives homeless in this rich and powerful country.”

Photo courtesy of the VA Homeless Veterans website.

The “Point In Time” survey of homeless veterans was conducted in 3,000 cities and counties in January 2010 and again in January of this year. It found that veterans are 50 percent more likely to be homeless than the average American.

“We’ve learned that we cannot end homelessness through street rescues alone and that’s why the VA created the supportive services for veterans and their families,” Shinseki said.

Prevention programs are showing some success. Yet, Secretary Shaun Donovan of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, pointed to their success at reducing the number of homeless veterans on the street.

“We’re particularly proud of the fact that unsheltered homeless veterans, those that are living on the street, declined about 17 percent,” Donovan said.

However, there were still more than 67,000 homeless veterans in January according to the survey.

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