Advocacy is defined as any action that speaks in favor of a cause. Therefore, an advocate is someone who communicates on behalf of another person who may lack the knowledge, skill, or ability, to speak, and stand for themselves. Additionally, advocacy is described as “disputing, recommending, supporting, defending, or pleading on behalf of others” ("Alliance for Justice," n.d., para. 1).With that advocacy is commonly used in communities as a support system to help solve problems facing specific populations such as homeless veterans.
Problems Facing Homeless Veterans Nevertheless, homelessness is a pressing problem facing veterans. Upon returning from deployment, veterans tend to struggle to obtain housing, regain employment, and seek proper health care or steady treatment for past combat related mental illnesses. Despite that warfare should be the most challenging experience for veterans to undergo, yet many of them returning home become homeless for longer than their length of deployment. Additionally, “the longer a veteran spends on the streets, the more health risks he or she tends to develop. Among the 62% of homeless veterans who reported two or more years of homelessness, more than 61% said they had a serious physical health condition, 55% reported a mental health condition, 76% said they had a substance abuse habit, and 32% reported all three” (Haggerty, 2011, Para. 4).
Recommending a Plan As an effective advocate for homeless veterans, I would further identify, address, and assess the unmet needs and supportive services that veterans will need to regain an ideal level of self-sufficiency and efficiency. Practical solutions such as housing, therapy, and intervention methods can help meet the specific needs of the homeless veteran’s population. Although the “support is available for the complex issues facing veterans, many homeless veterans do not access them because of stigma, lack of understanding or awareness, and logistical access to health care” (Commonwealth Land Trust, 2012, p. 1). As an advocate for the homeless veteran’s population, I support the notion that providing housing to the homeless veteran’s population will help them to triumph over obstacles that stop them from living stable and secure lives and consistent access to care (Volunteers of America, 2013).
Once housing is established, I would link the veterans to existing homeless veterans programs like the VA Medical Centers for supportive recovery services like treatment for mental health and wellness, in conjunction with substance abuse challenges. Hence, concentrating on recovery once permanent housing is established, helps empowers veterans by focusing on their “strengths and gives respect, honor, and hope to the nation’s heroes and their families” (United States Department of Veterans Affair, 2011, para. 3). Once housing is achieved the quality of a veteran’s life and clinical status will significantly improve. I advocate that additional resources be provided by the VA Medical Centers (VAMC) like around-the-clock service, care sensitive to gender differences, ethnic issues, and military cultural, aside