SOURCE: American Family Housing

American Family Housing

November 09, 2015 14:28 ET

American Family Housing: Helping America's Heroes by Putting the Home in Coming Home

It's No Coincidence That Veteran's Day Takes Place During National Homeless Awareness Month

MIDWAY CITY, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 9, 2015) - The United States has been at war for more than a decade and weary veterans are returning to California only to discover that they're not coming home -- because they have no home to call their own. According to a recent USC study, 35 percent of post-9/11 vets in Orange County did not have housing lined up upon their return to the USA. That lack of housing rolls into a brutal cycle experienced by a whopping 61 percent of these veterans. A lack of stable housing creates obstacles in meeting physical and mental health needs, which leads to difficulties finding adequate employment. Without strategic intervention, this cycle deteriorates into chronic homelessness. In Orange County alone, 12 percent of the homeless population is comprised of American veterans. It brings particular dishonor to California -- one of the largest centers of chronically homeless vets in the nation. Fortunately, this is where American Family Housing (AFH) is rising to the challenge.

Established in 1985, AFH is a nonprofit organization serving Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties with a mission to provide a continuum of housing and an array of services to support homeless and low income families and adults. The organization helps them to secure a stable home, be an active part of their community, and achieve a self-sustaining way of life. They focus in large part on serving homeless veterans. As a Navy veteran, AFH housing director Michael Taylor understands the struggles of homeless vets.

"Countless veterans deal with the effects of war -- commonly known as PTSD -- and other life-changing conditions that for most of us are a distant proposition," said Taylor. "Lost in traumatic memories and suffering alone on the streets, they are in their minds still soldiers on the front lines yet remain ill-equipped to face this battle without our help -- which they so richly deserve."

According to AFH president & CEO Donna Gallup, this is a great time to become involved in helping American heroes find homes. The nonprofit is moving ahead in the coming weeks with a new project to assist local communities with innovative and high-quality housing alternatives and related programs, particularly for veterans of war.

AFH plans to break ground on Potter's Lane, a first-of-its-kind multifamily housing project that will include homes set aside for veterans. Estimated for completion in 2016, the housing site for chronically homeless will include beautifully modified steel structures complimented by distinctive landscaping, gardens and outdoor spaces suited to meet the requirements and needs of the surrounding environments. This planned energy-efficient and sustainable housing site will fulfill one of the community's greatest needs: permanent housing for chronically homeless veterans. It will open a new door to American heroes' futures -- a door to their own homes.

"Numerous studies have shown that it costs cities, counties and states less taxpayer money to provide the homeless with a safe place to live than it does to leave them on the streets," said Gallup. "Once we have them safely housed, we then provide specialized related services based on individual needs to help them achieve self-sufficiency and become contributing members of their communities."

The public is invited to visit www.afhusa.org or contact AFH at (714) 897-3221 to learn more about how they can become involved in this visionary solution to end chronic homelessness in veterans. More information is also available on the organization's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/afhusa and through Twitter at www.twitter.com/afhusa.

ABOUT AMERICAN FAMILY HOUSING: Founded in 1985, American Family Housing (AFH) is a nonprofit organization that provides a continuum of housing and a broad spectrum of services to vulnerable populations facing barriers to achieving housing stability, including war veterans and adults with disabilities and mental illness. Operating 63 housing sites, with 267 units that serve more than 1,000 unduplicated adults and children each year in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, AFH is committed to permanently ending the cycle of homelessness, helping low-income families and adults achieve a self-sustaining way of life and become active members of their communities.

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