Ending Veteran Homelessness Together: One Veteran at a Time
In April of 2011 Rock Valley Community Programs, Inc. opened our veterans transitional program, 24 studio apartments, with the ability to house up to 48 homeless veterans and provide support services at once. Veterans can stay for up to 24 months before transitioning to permanent housing. Since the Ending Veterans 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 less than 40,000. Since opening our program in 2011, RVCP has assisted more than 300 veterans in regaining their independence.
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
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, and clean housing that offers support services. Veterans need a coordinated effort that provides housing, nutritional meals, physical health care, substance use treatment and mental health treatment, job assessment, training, and placement assistance.
In many cases a veteran who serves his/her country experiences emotional, physical, and/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, co-workers, and their 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 care management. RVCP Care Managers work in conjunction with VA primary health care, mental health care, substance use treatment, and other community based resource systems to serve the veteran’s individual needs.
An Individual Service Plan (ISP) is a long-range plan to address the housing, medical, counseling, education, vocational, legal, financial, social, and spiritual needs of the veteran. The ISP is developed by the Care Manager in conjunction with the veteran upon entry into the program. The ISP is reviewed weekly, progress is documented, and goals are updated, and adjusted, as necessary.
For a number of reasons, not all homeless veterans are forthcoming regarding their military service. For some, they do not realize that the fact they served in the military may qualify them as a veteran eligible for benefits. It is critical that staff and volunteers are aware of these issues and are informed of how to approach the veteran in a conversation that will garner the information necessary to assist the veteran, while taking into account their diverse backgrounds.
If you are or know a veteran who needs our services click here to go to the printable application.
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