The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has several programs that are specially created to help rid the country of the problem of homelessness in retired military personnel— each meant to tackle specific needs of our war heroes.
As of this writing, the VA is already involved in a total of 14 programs and projects that is either collaborative or initiative by nature. To understand them well, we have listed down some key points about each VA program and how they contribute to the gradual-but-infallible resolution of the country’s lingering problem on veterans’ homelessness:
1. Community Resource and Referral Centers (CRRCs)
This program ensures that the collective effort of the VA, service providers, agency partners, and communities across the nation succeed in providing refuge and an engagement center for homeless Veterans. It is a place where homeless retired military personnel have access to housing options, job development programs, physical and mental health wellness resources.
2. Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV)
The DCHV ensures that veterans with mental and substance use disorders, those with co-occurring medical issues, and psychosocial needs like unemployment and homelessness are given time-constricted residential treatment.
3. Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV)
The HCHV aims to contribute to the reduction of homelessness among war vets by linking them to quality health care services, among others. They focus on those categorized as “chronically homeless” and those diagnosed with severe mental health issues or substance use problems.
4. Health Care for Reentry Veterans (HCRV)
The HCRV was created to address incarcerated veterans’ needs, particularly those directly involved in their transition to returning as functioning members of the society.
The main goal is to avoid homelessness and reduce how their psychiatric, medical, and substance use issues affect their readjustment to the community. Overall, the HCRV is looking to decrease the likelihood of re-incarceration.
5. Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams (H-PACTs)
This program is akin to a “medical home” that offers retired military personnel with access to a team of primary care provider, social worker, nurse, and homeless program staff. And, like other programs in this list, the ultimate goal is to prevent or resolve vets’ homelessness.
6. Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD)
The GPD program offers award grants and per diem payments to help homeless veterans develop their income and skill levels as well as have greater self-determination and residential stability. The grants cover a maximum of 65 percent of construction costs of transitional housing or service centers while the Per Diem funds are given to veterans who aren’t covered by grants.
7. Homeless Veterans Dental Program (HVDP)
The HVDP is aimed at bringing back the veterans’ plaque-free smile by offering full access to quality dental care. This program is available for homeless retired personnel as well as other veteran patients through the Office of Dentistry.
8. Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services (HVCES)
The HVCES ensures that all veterans have access to a vast range of employment services. They offer training via Vocational Development Specialists who are deployed in each homeless program team for war heroes to get better employment opportunities by improving their skill sets.
9. Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUDVASH)
A cooperation between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and VA, this program intends to deliver an almost complete package for homeless veterans. From HUD, vets receive a Housing Choice rental voucher.
Meanwhile, the VA offers supportive services for them to establish housing stability. They also provide support those who have alcohol/substance abuse, physical or mental health problems, and other issues that may be the reason for their homelessness and promote full recovery for both the retiree and their families.
10. National Call Center for Homeless Veterans (NCCHV)
The NCCHV serves as a 24/7 portal for homeless veterans as well as those at risk of becoming homeless to gain free to VA staff via their hotline: 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838).
11. National Center on Homelessness among Veterans (NCHAV)
Offering recovery-oriented care, the NCHAV is responsible for research and assessment for programs related to veteran homelessness. They pinpoint best practices and disseminate information about them to be the basis of programs, policies, and services offered to our war heroes.
12. Project CHALENG (Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups)
Project CHALENG is a collective effort between the VA as well as public and private agencies in developing significant partnerships to provide better service for retired soldiers and other military personnel. The goal of this collaboration is to identify and meet the vets’ needs.
13. Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)
The Supportive Services for Veteran Families focus on very low-income retirees’ families who are transitioning to or are already living in permanent housing. Their main objective is to prevent homelessness among its target families and, ultimately, rehouse others as quickly as possible.
14. Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO)
The VJO is responsible for preventing homeless veterans from becoming criminals because of mental illness. They are also in charge of dealing with incarcerated retirees, averting further extension of their time behind bars.
Even with the VA working collaboratively with other government agencies, private institutions, and concerned citizens, there is still much that needs to be done before our war heroes can achieve independence and the comfortable life they deserve.
We, at the Long Road Home Project, are among those pushing for a sustainable support system for these scarred heroes. After fighting on the front-lines to keep us, our families, and our country safe, we owe them this much.