West Texas VA Health Care System
Help VA Eliminate Homelessness Among Veterans
Can You Help VA Eliminate Homelessness Among Veterans?
Are you homeless or do you know someone that is? The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a goal to end homelessness among Veterans by 2015. West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) does have programs available to assist those that are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to create a program to help end homelessness among Veterans. The VA refers to this program as the HUD/VASH (Housing of Urban Development/Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) Program.
There are many reasons Veterans become homeless, including loss of gainful employment, lack of support from family or friends, substance use, or unavoidable health issues. VA is committed to meeting the needs of every Veteran. Personalized, proactive and patient driven care can also mean providing job training and education, as well as assisting Veterans with securing safe, stable housing, while achieving self-sufficiency.
The WTVAHCS has a homeless coordinator that is assigned to the Social Work Service. If you are an enrolled Veteran in our system, please contact Social Work Service at the Big Spring facility or if you are enrolled in one of the Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC), ask for assistance to meet with Social Workers either at the clinic or arrange for an appointment at the main campus in Big Spring. If you know of a homeless Veteran that is not enrolled in VA health care, please encourage them to call 1-877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance.
Recently, a 55 year-old male Veteran, never married with no children approached the Social Worker in the Abilene CBOC. When the Veteran was referred to the HUD/VASH program, he was homeless and unemployed. He had been living at a camp site in a wooded area within the Abilene city limits, relying on panhandling to obtain money to provide for his basic necessities.
At the time the Veteran reached out for help, he was malnourished and was less than a health individual. He had no history of substance abuse and his lack of financial resources made it impossible for him to secure housing with a HUD/VASH voucher. He had no means to pay security deposits for an apartment or have utilities activated.
The Social Worker at the Abilene CBOC assisted in securing financial resources for security deposits and located a landlord who welcomed him as a tenant and was assisted with obtaining basic household furnishings. Additional assistance was provided so that the Veteran would have three months’ rent paid while he addressed his health care requirements. Today, Veteran is gainfully employed and has been on the job for over eight months. During his 8-month employment, he has never been tardy or utilized any unscheduled days off.
The VA Homeless Program has helped many Veterans in similar situations. This assistance is only a phone call away. If you are enrolled in the West Texas VA Health Care programs, please do not hesitate to contact the Homeless Program at 1-800-472-1365. Please utilize the VA resources that you have earned and deserve.