VA Employment Programs for Homeless Veterans
For many Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, employment provides income and a pathway to reintegration into the community. Below is information about VA programs to connect Veterans exiting homelessness with employment. Learn more at VA’s Programs for Homeless Veterans and For At-Risk Veterans pages.
Employment in the Community
Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services (HVCES) – Employment is a key element in helping Veterans transition permanently out of homelessness or avoid it altogether. The HVCES program makes it easier than ever for business and industry to find, interview and hire job-ready Veterans exiting homelessness. Through this program, VA has deployed more than 150 Community Employment Coordinators (CECs), based at most VA Medical Centers across the country, to collaborate with employers ready to hire Veterans exiting homelessness. CECs are recruiters’ connection to potential Veteran new hires for jobs in a wide variety of sectors.
How It Works
CECs increase Veterans’ likelihood of employment success by connecting them to job-related resources and career opportunities and a range of supports from VA and the community, including health care, housing and social services.
CECs also benefit employers in the following ways:
Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) – CWT is a national program that assists Veterans with mental health or physical impairment—including Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness—to obtain and maintain competitive employment. CWT programs include Community Based Employment Services (CBES), Individual Placement and Support Supported Employment (SE) and Transitional Work (TW). CWT provides Veterans with rapid job search and placement in competitive employment and with follow-on services for as long as requested and clinically necessary. CWT is among the many key collaborators with VA’s homeless programs.
How It Works
Veterans are assessed and assigned to one of the CWT programs based on their goals and necessary levels of support. Through CWT’s CBES and SE programs, Veterans receive job development support to obtain and retain competitive employment. Through the CWT TW program, Veterans are placed in a work assignment while receiving work adjustment support, with the goal of transitioning to competitive employment.
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) – VR&E helps Veterans and Servicemembers with service-connected disabilities and employment barriers prepare for, find and maintain suitable careers. For Veterans and Servicemembers with service-connected disabilities so severe that they cannot immediately consider work, VR&E offers services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible.
How It Works
Visit a local VR&E office to meet with a vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC), who will determine Veterans’ eligibility for VR&E benefits and services and whether there is an employment barrier (called a “serious employment handicap”). After VA makes an entitlement decision, Veterans work with the VRC on a rehabilitation plan that outlines the rehabilitation and other services that VR&E will provide.
Eligibility is determined if any one of the following criteria is present: