Schools Take On Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness

American Student Council Association members team up to collect money, household goods, and clothing for homeless and at-risk veterans.

Alexandria, VA—October 23, 2019–The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Homeless Programs Office has partnered with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the American Student Council Association (ASCA) to host the End Veteran Homelessness Challenge. Through this partnership, these organizations—and the members they represent—are setting out to help homeless and at-risk veterans obtain affordable housing and everyday household essentials.

“It is an honor for VA to again collaborate with NAESP, ASCA and their member schools as they collect funds and household essential items for veterans who are exiting homelessness,” said VHA-National Homeless Program Office, Executive Director, Monica Diaz. “The students’ generous donations will help formerly homeless veterans reintegrate back into their communities by making their houses feel like homes.”

In September, participating ASCA schools across the country began competing with one another to raise the most money and collect the most household goods and clothing to benefit homeless or at-risk veterans. The funds schools collect will go toward the cost of helping homeless veterans move into safe, stable housing.

Veterans who are exiting homelessness need essentials that many of us take for granted, like bed sheets, socks, and cleaning supplies. They also need kitchen essentials, including pots, pans, plates, utensils, and glasses. By collecting these basic household items, students are helping veterans transition to stable housing and into the next phase of their lives.

Participating student councils will be paired with local VA medical centers to coordinate fundraising and donation activities based on the needs of local veterans who are exiting homelessness. Councils will be provided with materials to help them solicit donations. Some councils might even have the opportunity to have a veteran go to their school to speak with students.

The challenge will take place from Sept. 30, 2019, through Nov. 15, 2019. The student council with the biggest impact will be featured in the first issue of the ASCA Newsletter of 2020 and also will receive a prize package for its council members. All participating councils will receive a certificate of thanks and automatic consideration for the ASCA Honor Council Award.

Since 2010, the goal of the VA Homeless Programs Office has been to connect veterans with permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible. In that time, VA programs have contributed to a 5.4 percent decrease in homelessness among veterans between 2017 and 2018 and a decrease of 49 percent since 2010. VA also has worked diligently to connect veterans with employment opportunities, health care, justice, and re-entry services to prevent homelessness whenever possible.

Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle-level principals in the United States and internationally. NAESP supports principals as the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning through policy and professional learning, advocacy, programs, and resources for effective instructional leadership. NAESP advances the profession on behalf of all principals, providing specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K-3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and capacity-building educator evaluation. For more information about NAESP, please visit

The American Student Council Association is a national program of the National Association of Elementary School Principals that recognizes and supports student councils across the nation for making a difference in their schools and communities. Student council members serve as positive role models for all students in their school. To learn more about ASCA, visit