By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
December 21 is National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. Since 1990, on or near the first day of winter and the longest night of the year, the National Coalition for the Homeless brings attention to and seeks compassion for the homeless who have died because they didn’t have a warm, safe place to sleep. Even as the recovery works its way through the entire economy, no one is immune to potentially being homeless. People in our community—colleagues and family members, military veterans, and our friends—might be too proud to ask for help. Too often, homelessness ends in tragedy.
Social Security provides services to the homeless and you can find these services at www.socialsecurity.gov/homelessness. Those who are homeless can apply for benefits and, if they are eligible, their benefits can be deposited directly into a personal banking account, a Direct Express debit bank card, or another electronic account. They can also have benefits mailed to a third party, or if necessary, a representative payee can receive their funds.
Social Security also collaborates with other agencies to help the homeless. At www.socialsecurity.gov/homelessness/collaborations.htm, you can read more about the Health Care for the Homeless program that provides grants to a network of local public and non-profit private organizations. Social Security also participates in the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, as well as the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program. PATH helps people with serious mental health issues or people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Every day, and especially on December 21, remember those living without a place to call home. Homelessness is a complicated and emotional issue, but we can help our brothers and sisters—friends and family—access the safety net that Social Security provides. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/homelessness to learn more.
Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp St NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at email@example.com