Ending Veteran Homelessness Together: One Veteran at a Time.
In April 2011 Rock Valley Community Programs, Inc. completed, renovated, and opened 24 studio apartments with the ability to house up to 48 homeless veterans and provide support services at once. Veterans can stay up to 24 months before transitioning to permanent housing.
One out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served his country.
Most homeless veterans are single, come from poor disadvantaged communities, 45% suffer from mental illness, and 50% have substance abuse problems. 47% served in the Vietnam Era, 67% served at least 3 years, 33% were stationed in a war one. 5% reside in rural area. (U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs)
About Homeless Veterans
A large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and substance abuse, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks. A top priority is secure, safe, clean housing that offers support services and is drug and alcohol free. Veterans need a coordinated effort that provides housing and nutritional meals, physical health care, substance abuse treatment and mental health counseling. They need job assessment, training and placement assistance. Personal development and empowerment are essential needs.
In many cases a veteran who serves his/her country in harms way may experience emotional, physical or medical effects of that service. These effects can have long term residual impacts upon that veteran’s mental stability and long term emotional health. It affects the very way the veteran perceives and interacts with his/her family, employer and fellow workers, and his community. These effects can result in contact with law enforcement officials. Many veterans seem adverse to either admitting that they have a problem or to even identifying themselves as a veteran at all.
Screening, Assessment, Planning
RVCP will provide
1) screening, assessments and individualized case management. RVCP case managers will work in conjunction with VA primary health care, mental health care, substance abuse treatment and other systems to serve the veterans’ needs and;
2) work with members of RVCP’s supportive services providers which can include transportation, housing, employment, vocational, educational, social connectedness, etc., all of which will be peer-based.
RVCP’s program approach will be one of Motivational Enhancement which is critical in building the client’s self-determination and provides them with a positive experience that is able to appropriately balance accountability with assistance.
An Individual Care Strategy (a long-range plan to address housing, medical, counseling, education, vocational, legal, financial, social and spiritual needs) will be developed by the case manager in conjunction with the homeless veteran. The Individual Care Strategy will be reviewed weekly, progress will be documented, and goals will be updated and adjusted as necessary. It will be a joint effort between the veteran and their case manager and will provide the veterans guidance with the decisions that affect their lives. The expected outcome and measure of success will be obtaining permanent housing.
Supportive service providers will offer services to include: veterans benefit counseling, public assistance counseling, disability claims assistance, education, training and employment services (including job service, training, job skills, referral and placement), computer training, and counseling. Rock Valley Community Programs, Inc. will provide transitional housing, case management, educational groups (including anger management, life skills training, sobriety maintenance, health and wellness and addiction therapy) and substance abuse recovery services.Transportation will be provided to Veterans in the program to meet their basic needs.
RVCP is in the process of developing additional working relationships with organizations that would complement the services we will offer to the veterans. A Homeless Veterans Task Force in Rock County has been started and monthly meetings are being held with other community based and governmental agencies to assess the needs of homeless veterans and to fill gaps in services available.
RVCP will provide extensive outreach in order to identify and educate homeless veterans regarding the transitional housing and supportive services available. These efforts will include building relationships with staff at the homeless shelters, churches, food pantries, Salvation Army locations, etc. and educating them on the available services. By being present and engaging the homeless population in conversation, RVCP staff and volunteers will form relationships and trust with these individuals. A pool of volunteers, many of which will be veterans, will be maintained and will assist in reaching out to the homeless population. Through these concentrated efforts, those hard to locate, transient homeless veterans can begin to be identified.
For a number of reasons, not all homeless veterans are forthcoming regarding their military backgrounds. For some, they do not realize that the fact they served in the military may qualify them as a veteran eligible for benefits. This is why it will be critical that staff and volunteers are aware of these issues and how to approach the homeless person in a conversation that will garner the information necessary to assist the veteran.
If you are or know a veteran who needs our services click here to go to the printable application.