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Homeless veterans are able to rapidly get the help they’ve earned and deserve at one-stop shops staffed by VA Health Care for Homeless Veterans professionals and community partners. For thousands, it’s a model of care that is changing and saving lives.

VA Health Care for Homeless Veterans Supervisor Marsha Latham leads the collaboration in Miami with the community’s Operation Sacred Trust Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.

Latham said the partnership is effective because it is veteran centered and helps VA professionals get immediate assistance to at-risk veterans that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

This year, CARES funding allowed Operation Sacred Trust to deliver more than $3 million in temporary financial assistance to help nearly 1,300 very-low income Miami and Broward County veteran families stay in their homes, get housing, or provide temporary housing as veterans wait for permanent housing to be available.

It’s the program’s tenth year serving South Florida’s very-low income veterans since being awarded a VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant in 2011. In 2018, the program achieved CARF multi-year accreditation for meeting the highest standards in homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing.

The collaboration works, said Seth Eisenberg, OST’s founder, President and CEO, because of the strong partnership with Miami VA professionals such as Latham and her dedicated team that’s worked on site with the program throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, Latham and two of her social workers sat down to talk about the partnership, how it is eliminating barriers to care, and the impact on veterans who are at the highest risk for suicide. Latham says the model is making a difference for veterans contemplating suicide and is an approach other VA professionals should embrace.