Engaging Veterans in Services Effective Program Strategies for Homeless Veterans - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Engaging Veterans in Services Effective Program Strategies for Homeless Veterans

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  1. Engaging Veterans in ServicesEffective Program Strategies for Homeless Veterans Utica Public Housing AmeriCorps Project Collaboration between the Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Utica, New York & Central New York Veterans’ Outreach Center

  2. Presentation Overview • Utica AmeriCorps Program Overview • CNY Veterans Outreach Center Mission/Programs • Needs of Homeless Veterans • Rural Characteristics • Rural Challenges • Rural Homelessness • Service Strategies • Outreach Strategies • Service Methodologies • Role of AmeriCorps Members • Strengths of Program Model • Success of Program Model

  3. Presentation Overview We would like to thank our funders:

  4. Utica Public Housing AmeriCorps Project - Overview • Funded by the U.S. Corp. for National Service, NYS Commission on National and Community Service, & Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties. • 12 FT AmeriCorps members • 10 Assigned to Housing Authority for Financial Literacy, Employment Readiness, Self-Sufficiency Programs, Housing Information & Referral Center. • 2 Members Placed at CNY Veterans Outreach Center. • Services coordinated among components and sites.

  5. CNY Veterans Outreach Center • Founded in 2007 by Veteran with Housing Background. • Operates a community-based outreach/supportive services center for veterans • One of five HUD Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration Pilot grantees in U.S. • Received funding from the VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families • AmeriCorps members assist with linking veterans with supportive services and outreach. • Serves 6 counties: Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Oneida, Herkimer, Madison • Targets homeless veterans and their families

  6. Needs of homeless veterans • Growing number of veterans needing services. • Since May 2011, 260 homeless/at-risk veterans served. • 25% increase in referrals between 2011 and 2012. • Data analysis shows that 4,338 veterans in service area are homeless or at risk of losing their housing. • Area is primarily rural with small urban centers. • Service region has high saturation levels of veterans

  7. Rural Characteristics • Geography • 1/3 of OEF/OIF Veterans return to rural areas • Major needs • Transportation • Availability of services • Domestic Violence • Nutrition & food resources • Cultural & Social • Importance of family and immediate/local community • Self-reliance, independence and PRIDE • Ok to trade, borrow money, borrow cars, rely on others for childcare, etc. • NOT ok for able-bodied adults to rely on Social Services • Belief that government is bad, wasteful, does not understand rural populations • Distrust of “outsiders” • Drugs & Alcohol • Drinking & functional alcoholism is ok • Meth and marijuana are ok – not “city” drugs

  8. Rural Challenges • Importance of community stakeholders • Clergy, veteran organizations, criminal justice personnel, etc. • Rural individuals tend to be less educated and poorer and are less likely to have employer-based health insurance • Services & Supports • Fewer resources • Transportation • Lack of emergency shelters/housing • Population Dispersed • Lack of available housing • Negative attitude of some social service providers toward clients

  9. Rural Homelessness • Street homeless • Couch surfing • Overcrowding • Family • Friends • Conditions not meant for human habitation • Neighbors can be few & far between, which means that people may not know how bad your living situation really is…

  10. Service Strategies • Hub and Spoke model. • Community-based centers with strong outreach • Outreach is critical. • Mobile van, home visits, community outreach locations, marketing/advertising • Collaborations with local service/housing providers • Housing first model. • Focus on homelessness prevention/rapid rehousing

  11. Outreach Strategies • Relationships • VA, HUD, DOL, Vocational Rehabilitation, Legal Aid services, TANF, schools • Local military bases, National Guard and Reserves • Collaboration with community partners • National Grid (other utility providers) • VFWs & Legions • Hospitals/criminal justice/courts • Grassroots organizations • Religious organizations

  12. Outreach Strategies • Advertising • Libraries, schools, stores, gas stations… • Mobile Outreach • Transportation • Meeting people where they are • Word of mouth • DAV partnerships • Connection to Indian/Tribal Nations • Use technology - Lap top (with wireless), iPad, cell phone, GPS, portable scanner, portable printer

  13. Service Methodologies • Center-Based and Mobile Platforms for Providing Services • Intake, Screening, Supportive Services Plan • Pocket Guide for Services • Rapid Housing Assistance • Supportive Services Coordination • Assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits • Temporary Financial Assistance • Community Linkages

  14. Role of AmeriCorps Members • Two AmeriCorps members assigned. • One is a member of the Naval Reserve and pursuing MSW. • Members provide outreach, direct assistance to homeless veterans in receiving services and benefits. • As of August 1, 2013, 36 homeless veterans provided placement/supportive services. • Services include job search, food assistance, benefits, transportation, referrals to legal aid, eviction prevention, utility assistance, furniture, job/career development.

  15. Strengths of Program Model • Holistic service coordination • Center-based and strong outreach component • Community Collaborations • Linkages with existing housing/human service programs • Client-centered model • Peer support • Housing First Model • Client follow-up assistance

  16. Success of Program Model • Placement in safe, affordable, quality housing • Help in accessing benefits • Improved health care/nutrition • Connect services to local services/community • Reduce isolation of veterans • Assistance in obtaining jobs/economic self-sufficiency

  17. More information John Furman Utica Municipal Housing Authority jfurman@uticamha.org 315-725-0974