Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Volunteers of America Works

History of Volunteers of America

Like many well-known service organizations, Volunteers of America appeared on the scene in the 19th century. Husband-and-wife team Ballington and Maud Booth started the group in 1896. They were social reformers who dedicated their lives to helping people get a foothold during rough times. The Booths were the first people to create halfway houses for recently released prisoners.

Volunteers of America was there through the Great Depression and World Wars I and II. Besides providing much-needed assistance for soldiers and their families during wartime, the organization collected millions of pounds of scrap material to make supplies.

Affordable housing is one of the core goals of the group. Since the 1960s, Volunteers of America has worked with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which was created in 1934 to help Americans buy homes. With the help of the FHA and charity organizations like Volunteers of America, the United States saw a boom in home sales.

In the 1970s, Volunteers of America began to focus on health care and housing for the elderly. Professional long-term nursing care isn't something people like to think about, but it's a necessity. The organization now operates assisted and independent living facilities and offers home health care for senior citizens.

Volunteers of America has come a long way, and it's still going strong. Read on to learn about more of its services.