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Homeless Veterans

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Homeless Veterans

Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services

Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services

Although permanent, stable housing is the benchmark of efforts to end homelessness among Veterans, housing alone may not be enough to mitigate a current episode of homelessness or prevent future episodes. Employment is a key element in helping Veterans climb out of homelessness permanently or avoid it all together. For homeless, chronically homeless and at-risk Veterans, employment can provide an improved quality of life, increased self-confidence and independence, a decreased reliance on institutional care, improved community integration, and opportunities for socialization.  Without employment, Veterans may lack access to resources that help in obtaining and sustaining stable housing.

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) recognizes that employment is critical to helping prevent and eliminate Veteran homelessness and is working to provide expanded employment opportunities and a full range of employment services to all homeless, chronically homeless and at-risk Veterans.

Employment Fair

As part of this effort, VA has implemented Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services (HVCES) and is hiring Community Employment Coordinators (CEC) for homeless Veterans at each medical center.  

The CEC is a member of the Homeless Veterans Program team and leads efforts to establish a local employment collective.  CECs work closely with VA programs such as Compensated Work Therapy (CWT), non-VA programs such as Department of Labor grantees, local community and faith-based organizations, and community-based employers.

The CECs also collaborate with VA and non-VA partners to identify local gaps in current competitive employment services for homeless Veterans, and welcome opportunities to engage with community partners and local employers who are also committed to ending and preventing homelessness among Veterans.

CECs have been hired at approximately 147 medical center locations across the country and it is expected that all VA Medical centers will have access to CECs within the next year.

With the implementation of the HVCES program and the help of CECs, VA hopes to help homeless, chronically homeless and at-risk Veterans find employment opportunities and ultimately secure stable housing.

For questions about the HVCES program, please contact Dr. Carma Heitzmann, Director, Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services at Carma.Heitzmann@va.gov. Find contact information for the CEC at your local VAMC.

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