Everything You Need to Know About Philadelphia Veterans Resources
One of the nation’s most iconic historic cities, Philadelphia is famous as the home of the Liberty Bell, the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and of course, the famous steps Sylvester Stallone raced up during the training scenes of “Rocky.” It seems appropriate that the “City of Brotherly Love” is also home to a large veteran population, with nearly 70,000 of the state’s 1 million veterans living in the state’s most populous city. Philly veterans have access to a long list of benefits and support earned by their service to their country, ranging from health services to housing assistance, and employment help to networking.
The Philadelphia VA Medical Center (VAMC), located at 3900 Woodland Avenue, provides health care to veterans living in this, the nation’s fifth-largest metropolitan area that includes Philadelphia and six surrounding counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. The Center offers comprehensive surgical, medical, and psychiatric care, along with special programs supporting alcohol and drug dependence treatment, and rehabilitative care. With an operating budget of more than $474 million and 2,000 employees, the Center has also been awarded several National Research Centers of Excellence awards and is home to the National Center for Homelessness among Veterans.
Philadelphia is also houses a regional VA office, located at 5000 Wissahickon Ave. The office includes a Pension Management Center for 19 states and is also one of eight National Call Centers. Veterans and families can come by the office to receive in-person assistance with benefits, compensation, and employment services.
Approximately 60 years ago, the city established the Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission (VAC), with the goal of acting as an information and services hub for local veterans. From raising awareness of and improving access to benefits, to maintaining updated contact with other local veteran groups, the VAC serves as an advocate for U.S. veterans. The main office is located in City Hall, but the VAC maintains a robust online presence with links to many valuable resources including links to forms, publications and manuals, as well as community housing resources like the Veterans Comfort House. Vets can find information on many of the programs they’re eligible for, such as the VASH Program, Housing Choice Voucher Program, short-term housing solutions for vets, and low-interest loan programs for home improvements or accessibility projects.
For veterans facing difficult times, the VA services for Philadelphia offer several helpful services including a free, confidential hotline for veterans facing homelessness – 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838) – and the Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) program comprised of three unique programs that assist homeless veterans in returning to competitive employment. Homeless veterans in the Philly area can also utilize several free outreach health programs, including physical and dental exams, and multiple “safe housing” locations.
Philadelphia veterans have access to several non-government veteran organizations, including the Veterans Multi-Service Center and the Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network. These two community-based non-profit organizations that work with veterans to help find housing and jobs, as well as provide counseling, family services, and specialized programs such as those specific to female veterans. The Philadelphia area is also home to 35 different Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts, and twice that many within a 20-mile radius of the city. In addition to hosting networking and social events, the VFW posts often provide on-site service officers who can assist veterans and widowed spouses with benefits applications and resolving claims with the VA.
Written by Megan Hammons