The American Legion welcomed retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Maj. Dr. Patrick McClellan for its October virtual Training Tuesday session, “Be the One: Helping Our Homeless Veterans." McClellan provided ways American Legion posts can assist homeless veterans through social support, housing, employment and treatment.
In his opening remarks, McClellan said, “I'm going to be discussing Be the One, but it may not be from the context of what you're familiar with. Most of the time we hear Be the One in the realm of suicide awareness prevention. Be the One can also be part of helping our homeless veterans and connecting our veterans to the resources that are available locally to you.
“We need to capture them (homeless veterans) into our post. Whether this is trying to find out how you can sign them up to become members of the post to help them and guide them to get them back to where they need to be to be productive citizens. This is kind of really the touch point of Be the One as a post and as the Legion. This provides actual tangible results because you get to see it right before your eyes and you get to put an actual person and the name and the face together and say, ‘This is where they were. This is where they're going to be at. This is where they are now.’ That's something that is very fulfilling and that's why I have personally dedicated my life to continue to serve my veteran community.”
In his presentation, McClellan provided guidance on how to:
· Understand how no two homeless veterans and their needs are the same.
· Get the veteran into treatment, whether they are eligible for VA assistance or not, and ensure the veteran is able to get to the treatment provided.
· Find shelter, including overcoming barriers to locate housing for homeless veterans.
· Help the veteran gain employment.
· Advocate for homeless veterans at the state and federal level.
The next Training Tuesday will be Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. Information on the topic and link to join will be available at legion.org/training/training-tuesdays.