Employment help for homeless veterans

Homeless veteran sleeping on rug on street

In 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs set a goal to end homelessness for all veterans. Since that time, a number of veterans have gained permanent, stable housing, and the program has expanded to include additional services to help ensure veterans’ ongoing financial stability. A key area to help veterans exit homelessness—or to avoid it—is employment.

The Veterans Administration established Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services to improve employment outcomes for veterans who have experienced homelessness. This program has established more than 150 specialists who serve as Community Employment Coordinators in VA medical centers across the country. Participants are veterans engaged in programs to obtain stable housing.

The HVCES provide information and resources, referrals to community jobs programs, and direct job placements. Participants may have a variety of barriers to stable employment, such as a poor work history; lack of transportation and appropriate clothing; history of justice involvement; substance use, and mental health issues. The HVCES staff work individually with participants to overcome these and other barriers and prepare for jobs.

HVCECs also work with local employers to develop job opportunities for veterans exiting homelessness. Often, technical assistance is needed to translate the veterans’ skills, training, and military experience into civilian-equivalent knowledge, work experience, and job titles. Services don’t stop with a job placement; they also offer support with retention efforts as participants adjust to jobs and work environments.

Connections with other meaningful services is the third major priority for HVCES programs; along with essential health care, housing and social services, they ensure that veterans access career and employment resources with community partners such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Veterans’ Employment and Training Services, American Job Centers, Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP), and more.

In 2021 alone, despite the impact of the pandemic on employers nationwide, HVCES programs helped nearly 13,800 veterans obtain newly documented, unique instances of employment.

Learn more

CareerOneStop veteran resources

  • Check out the Veteran and Military Transition Center on CareerOneStop to explore civilian careers, go back to school, find jobs, and learn about benefits and other assistance.  
  • Or use the State Resource Finder to look up resources in your state for veterans employment and training help, and more.
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