Heroism Knows no Gender:
Veterans Outreach Center Serves Female Veteran Families
Liz is an Army Veteran and a single mom. After losing her job, she struggled to pay the rent and provide for her daughter.
Disheartened with a fruitless job search and unsure of where else to turn, Liz came to the Veterans Outreach Center (VOC). She was immediately connected with a Case Manager, an Employment Specialist, an accredited State Veterans Benefits Counselor and the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) team.
In order to avoid the immediate crisis of homelessness, the Services To Enable Positive Solutions (STEPS) program at the VOC paid Liz’s rent arrears, which had escalated to an amount that was insurmountable. Within a few short days of connecting with the team at VOC, Liz had a job interview that resulted in full-time, meaningful employment. In less than a week, she had a benefits review with an on-site counselor from the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs during which she applied for an increase in disability compensation. The payment of Liz’s back rent allowed her and her daughter to keep a roof over their heads.
With their living situation stabilized, Liz was able to focus on her employment and securing her benefits, which are both components of an Individual Development Plan (IDP) that will help Liz sustain permanent housing in the future.
The VOC was able to stabilize Liz and her daughter while concurrently providing the supportive services necessary for her to maintain permanent housing. The temporary financial assistance was delivered to the landlord in a timely, efficient manner with the help of a S.T.E.P.S collaborative partner.
Through coordinated case management, supportive services were provided quickly and effectively. At the 90-day mark, Liz has retained both her job and her home. She has realized this goal independently, without requesting any additional financial assistance.
The Veterans Outreach Center was able to better the lives of a mom, a Veteran, and her child immeasurably through SSVF funding.
General Program Information
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is a new VA program that awards grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives to provide supportive services to very low-income Veterans and their families residing in or transitioning to permanent housing. The grantees will provide a range of supportive services designed to promote housing stability.
For information about the SSVF Program please email SSVF@va.gov or call (toll-free): 1-877-737–0111.
“Our progress in the fight against homelessness has been significant, but our work is not complete until no Veteran has to sleep on the street.”
— Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki
The Department of Veterans Affairs is taking decisive action to end Veteran homelessness in five years.
Read the story of Army Veteran Liz (below) to learn about one of the many ways VA is working to get Vets off the streets, save their homes and find a job.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline to ensure that homeless Veterans or Veterans at-risk for homelessness have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors.
The hotline is intended to assist homeless Veterans and their families, VA Medical Centers, federal, state and local partners, community agencies, service providers and others in the community.
To be connected with a trained VA staff member call 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838).
VA offers a variety of resources, programs, and benefits for homeless Veterans.
What Can I Do?
You could print out this story, circle the phone number above and the web address below and give it to the next homeless Veteran you see on the street.
And, yes, we realize someone on the street probably won’t have a phone or access to a computer. You could suggest they use a computer at a library or ask to use the phone at a VA Medical Center or Vet Center…or at one of the many faith-based and charitable organizations or Veteran Service Organizations in their community.
The help is there. You could be the connection to the help for a homeless Veteran. Here is a quick link to the many valuable programs VA has to help end homelessness: www.va.gov/HOMELESS
Progress being Made
VA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released a national report that shows Veteran homelessness fell nearly 12 percent between January 2010 and January 2011. The 12 percent decline keeps VA on track to meet the goal of ending Veteran homelessness in 2015.
According to the report, 67,495 Veterans were homeless in the United States on a single night in January 2011 — a reduction from last year’s single night count of 76,329.