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. Since the Ending Veteran’s Homelessness Initiative began in 2011, programs like Housing4OurVets across the nation have helped reduce the number of homeless veterans on the street on any given night from 150,000 to 50,000.
- Most homeless veterans are single, and come from poor disadvantaged communities
- 45% suffer from mental illness;
- 50% have substance abuse problems;
- 47% served in the Vietnam Era;
- 67% served at least 3 years; and
- 33% were stationed in a war one; and 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.
RVCP provides screening, assessments, and individualized case management. RVCP case managers work in conjunction with VA primary health care, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and other systems to serve the veterans’ needs.
An Individual Care Strategy (a long-range plan to address housing, medical, counseling, education, vocational, legal, financial, social and spiritual needs) is developed by the case manager in conjunction with the homeless veteran upon entry into the program. The Individual Care Strategy is reviewed weekly, progress documented, and goals updated and adjusted as necessary.
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.