Operation Sacred Trust, “OST,” funded through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, helps provide housing stability for homeless and at-risk Veteran families in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. OST is a collaborative effort of Carrfour Supportive Housing, PAIRS Foundation, Henderson Behavioral Health, and Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida. The program served more than 1,000 Veterans and their family members in South Florida since starting-up in September 2011, including ending homelessness for hundreds. FatherhoodChannel.com is pleased to profile some of the OST professionals on the frontline of ending homelessness for America’s Veterans.
Yvette Costa, Case Manager
Operation Sacred Trust
What inspires you to serve Veterans?
Initially it had been the fact that my father was a Veteran but a couple of years ago while working at the VA hospital my son was diagnosed with ulcerated colitis and it was a very difficult time for our family. Both of us felt so much love and support from the Veterans that to this day we believe that’s what got us through all the hard times. That’s when I realized that I didn’t want to do anything else but be a part of that loving family we call our Veterans and do anything I could to be a part of making their lives better if I could, the same way many of them had done for us.
What is a story/experience serving a Veteran family that stands out for you?
It’s hard to remember just one as every Veteran represents an experience and almost all have left a lasting impression. But if I had to pick one, it would be my very first client [at Operation Sacred Trust] which was a family I placed at [Carrfour Supportive Housing’s] Verde Gardens [community]. At the time we helped them they were facing eviction, barely had any income and their marriage was coming to an end. We all worked as a team and got them placed at Verde Gardens within days, connected them to Veteran resources, supportive services, and even couples counseling. Today they are still residents of Verde Gardens, the husband is successfully employed, wife is going to school, and children are doing very well in school as well. Their goal is to save to purchase a home with help from the VA and the marriage is stronger then ever.
What’s your hope for the impact your work at Operation Sacred Trust has on the lives of the Veterans you serve?
My hope is that with the assistance and tools we provide for our clients we can be the turning point to break the cycle of instability and inconsistency and inspire our clients to strive and sustain stable and permanent housing, but to also show them that we all stumble and its important to reach out and ask for help from organizations like OST before ever becoming homeless again.
Beyond your work serving Veterans, what personal connections do you have with the military/VA community?
Several years ago after his third divorce, my dad found himself in a very difficult financial situation and almost ended up homeless. At the same time his health was affected and because of pride and shame he did not want to let anyone know. Thanks to the VA, his Social Worker encouraged him to reach out to me and let me know what was happening and the entire family was able to come together and help. Today, my dad owns his own home again, is retired with a nice part-time job to keep him busy, remarried and very healthy. I will always be grateful to the VA Social Worker that cared enough to make sure that my dad is still with us today.
What’s one of the hardest lessons you’ve learned from your work helping end homelessness for Veterans?
The hardest lesson for me has been to accept that I will not always have a happy ending. Their have been Veterans that in the end have not been happy with all we have been able to do for them no matter how hard I have tried. In this work, we must accept that we have limitations and that all problems are not within our possibilities to be able to fix.
|Job Title:||Case Manager|
|Company Name:||Carrfour Supportive Housing
Operation Sacred Trust
|Work Phone:||855-778-3411 x824|
|Email Address:||Click to Email|
|Address:||200 S. Park Road, Suite 455|
|Hollywood, Florida 33021|