As Oro Valley resident Bill Adler started to divide his belongings into the groups of keep or give away, he made sure to think about local veterans while doing so.
Adler, who is moving into Splendido this month, kept some of his belongings, while giving some to his family. But, for things like his bed, he recently learned he could donate it to a program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development called the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH).
The program gives veterans, who are homeless or in need of assistance, a voucher to live in an apartment at a reduced rate.
HUD has given funding for about 10,000 HUD-VASH vouchers each year in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2011, $50 million was used to serve about 7,000 voucher families. Since 2008, 37,975 vouchers have been awarded across the country.
After receiving a voucher, veterans have a place to live, but if they were homeless, like many of them are, they don’t have anything to put in their apartment.
From there, people, like Adler, have donated to the veterans to furnish their apartments.
“My bedroom set that I donated went directly that afternoon into a home that someone is living,” Adler said. “You get a pretty good feeling about the fact that the stuff that you are giving is rather immediately going to help somebody who needs material, rather than going into a retail store.”
Oro Valley residents Carol Harrison and her husband John have helped organize donation drives for goods, such as furniture, kitchen supplies including microwaves, dishes, cups, silverware.
For the past few years, the residents at Splendido have received a call to donate their unused goods, and every time they fill a truck with supplies. Carol, who lives in Heritage Highlands, thought if Splendido could do it, she could organize her community to donate unused items as well.
“We had a what (some) called a ‘free garage sale,’” Carol said. “The vets came and picked what they needed from this donation. It was a huge success.”
She put a notice in the community newsletter a couple of years ago and still receives calls about donated goods almost daily.
For those who have items they would like to donate to HUD-VASH, call 629-1839. They will determine if the item is needed and if they have room for the items. From there, they will organize a time and place to pick up the items.