He’s sitting on a sidewalk, unkempt, sunburnt, and wearing ragged clothing. He may or may not have a “Homeless Vet Please Help” sign. He’s one of more than 40,000 homeless veterans in the U.S. on any given night. He might have PTSD, substance abuse problems, military training that didn’t transition back to civilian life, lack of family or social services support or both. Many are too proud to ask for help. They can be damaged psychologically, physically or both.
There is hope and a plan. Agencies such as SHELTER, Inc. have helped reduce the number of unemployed and homeless veterans by about 50% since 2009, according to HUD’s annual homeless report to Congress. SHELTER, Inc. counts homeless veteran families among 17% of its clientele and is attuned to the needs of this homeless segment.
SI received a 3-year, $1.5 million grant late June 2022 to administer funding from the HVRP (Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program), a Department of Labor, federally-funded program to provide services to assist homeless veterans gain meaningful employment within the labor force, and address the complex problems in Contra Costa and Solano counties. HVRP program is open to eligible Veterans who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, low-income, under or unemployed, and have a discharge status of a condition other than dishonorable. The grant is expected to encompass 75 clients in the program and will be administered out of the Concord, CA and Fairfield, CA offices.
“SHELTER, Inc has been serving Veterans for over 20 years; with Veteran-specific programs in existence for the last 13 years. The majority of our Veteran team members are also Veterans themselves, so we take our mission very much to heart. We understand the complex barriers that Veterans face, and have proven this with our long record of successfully serving Veterans; with program outcomes well above national averages. We’re excited to be able to bring the HVRP Program to our community and continue to meet the unique needs of the Veterans we serve. In the midst of a pandemic and unknown economic climate, employment services for Veterans are needed now more than ever.” says Mary Fitzgerald, Deputy Director of Veteran and Employment Services.
Services that SHELTER, Inc. will administer as part of the program include: job placement, training, job development, career counseling, resume preparation, interview and work clothing, housing assistance, referrals to medical and substance abuse treatment, and transportation assistance.