KALISPELL - The Kalispell Veterans Affairs Clinic held a community walk Monday morning to show support and bring awareness to unsheltered veterans in Flathead County.
The VA-2K featured a short two-kilometer walk and encouraged donations that would go straight to unsheltered veterans.
The Montana VA reports a 56% increase in state veterans who were homeless from 2021 to 2022, from 110 to 172 homeless individuals.
Kalispell VA Behavioral Health Integrated Practice Case Manager Alena Gostnell said rising rent prices, inflation and other factors start a ripple effect of problems for veterans on fixed incomes.
“It’s a huge component to really why we’re seeing folks experience homelessness is not just cost but lack of availability, and for some folks especially veterans who are attached to our clinic, if they have to move further and further out, then transportation also becomes a barrier.”
Those who would like to help veterans in need can find more information online.
The Missoula VA Clinic will host their own VA-2K walk on May 17, 2023, starting at 9 a.m. at the David J. Thatcher VA Clinic at 3885 West Broadway Street.