The Volunteer Center will be partnering with the Bergen County Division of Veterans Services in assisting homeless veterans in the area. According to Richard Daul, director of Veterans Service, about one third of the adult homeless population are veterans. Although perfect counts are impossible to come by—the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty—it is estimated that over 100 veterans are homeless on any given night in Bergen County, and over the course of a year, approximately twice that many can experience homelessness. In addition to the complex set of factors influencing all homelessness—extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care—a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.
Donations of backpacks, toiletry kits (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, soap, comb/brush, razor, shaving cream, small bag to hold items and a set of towels), sweatshirts sizes large and extra large, and gift cards to Walmart, Shop Rite, McDonald’s, Subway, and Pizza Hut are needed. Donors can drop off these items at the Volunteer Center’s offices, 64 Passaic Street in Hackensack, during the week of January 13 to 17, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, with evening hours till 7:00 pm on Thursday January 16; and from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on Saturday, January 18.