This year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded nearly $100 million in funding through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, SSVF, to 151 private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives that provide services to very low-income Veteran families living in — or transitioning to — permanent housing. Those community organizations provide a range of services that promote housing stability among eligible very low income Veteran families, including: outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits and assistance in getting other public benefits. Grantees can also offer temporary financial assistance on behalf of Veterans for rent payments, utility payments, security deposits and moving costs.
This is the program’s second year. Last year, VA provided about $60 million to assist 22,000 Veterans and family members.
Operation Sacred Trust, OST, is a South Florida collaboration of leading nonprofit community agencies — Carrfour Supportive Housing, PAIRS Foundation, Henderson Behavioral Health, and Neighborhood Housing Services — funded under the SSVF grant. In its first year, the program helped hundreds of homeless and at-risk Veteran families in Broward and Miami-Dade counties move into permanent affordable housing.
Fatherhood Channel.com is pleased to profile the OST professionals on the frontline of ending homelessness for America’s Veteran families.
Family Support Specialist
Operation Sacred Trust
What inspires you to serve Veterans?
I have always been a patriotic person, proud to be an American, the whole enchilada. Although I was unable to serve my country through the military, I am proud to serve my country by supporting those who have and continue to serve.
What is an experience serving a Veteran family that stands out for you?
My first client at OST was a couple with a teenage daughter. The Veteran and his girlfriend lost their jobs and apartment, but not their hope. They were forced to move into a room and eventually into a U-Haul before they were placed into permanent 30% housing. Despite the hardships, they never lost hope and were so grateful for everything they had been given.
What’s your hope for the impact your work at Operation Sacred Trust has on the lives of the Veterans you serve?
I hope that our Veterans not only make it through their crisis and develop resiliency to prevent future ones, but also come to know there are people who truly care for and respect them and their families for their service and sacrifice in the name of our country.
What personal connection do you have to the military, Veteran or homeless community?
I am a very proud military wife. My husband and one of my two brothers currently in the military are both Wounded Warriors from their OEF/OIF deployments. I also grew up in a very unstable environment not always knowing if there was enough food to eat, if we would have power in cold northern winters, or if we were going to sleep in a bed or my father’s van.
What’s a lesson you’ve learned from your work helping end homelessness for Veterans?
Veterans are people, and people can make poor choices; however, it is usually not the result of poor choices that lead the Veterans I serve to OST. More often, it’s the result of job loss/cut hours, family breakdowns, and medical conditions (often as a result of their service) that lead to homelessness. The strength and determination of the majority of my Veteran clients is second to none!
|Job Title:||Family Support Specialist|
|Company Name:||PAIRS Foundation
Operation Sacred Trust
|Work Phone:||855-778-3411 x812|
|Email Address:||Click to Email|
|Address:||200 S. Park Road, Suite 455|
|Hollywood, Florida 33021|