Nashua, New Hampshire the latest community to effectively end Veteran homelessness


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At the end of March, the Greater Nashua region in the state of New Hampshire announced the end of Veteran homelessness in their community, bringing us another step closer to ending Veteran homelessness across our nation.

The City of Nashua joins more than 40 communities and three states – Connecticut, Delaware, and Virginia – that have effectively ended Veteran homelessness. Communities that have reached this goal have identified each homeless Veteran by name and have processes in place to secure permanent housing.

Since VA launched its initiative to prevent and end Veteran homelessness in 2010, more than 480,000 Veterans and their family members have been permanently housed, rapidly re-housed, or prevented from becoming homeless. In Greater Nashua alone – which includes Nashua, and nine nearby communities– nearly 900 formerly homeless Veterans have obtained permanent housing since October 2012.

Achieving an end to homelessness was a hard-fought victory for Nashua. The staff at Manchester VA Medical Center has worked tirelessly alongside its community partners to support homeless Veterans in the areas of housing, employment, transportation assistance and more.

VAMCs serve as hubs for much more than just Veteran health care services. Manchester VAMC staff collaborates closely with state governments, local governments, nonprofits, corporate partners and community members to support Veterans with a range of non-traditional wellness such as employment, housing and other socioeconomic services. Through these resources, a continuum of care is established that provides a holistic support system to Veterans and their families, including those who find themselves experiencing homelessness.

IMAGE: Jim Donchess, mayor of Nashua; Gregory G. Carson, Esq., field office director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in New Hampshire; Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith, network director for the VA New England Health Care System; Peter Kelleher, president and CEO, Harbor Homes/Partnership for Successful Living; Courtney Lobao, U.S. Navy, Sen. Margaret W. Hassan; Danielle Ocker, director of the Manchester VAMC; and Bradley Mayes, director, Veterans Benefit Administration.

Jim Donchess, mayor of Nashua; Gregory G. Carson, Esq., field office director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in New Hampshire; Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith, network director for the VA New England Health Care System; Peter Kelleher, president and CEO, Harbor Homes/Partnership for Successful Living; Courtney Lobao, U.S. Navy, Sen. Margaret W. Hassan; Danielle Ocker, director of the Manchester VAMC; and Bradley Mayes, director, Veterans Benefit Administration.

A notable collaboration is with Partnership for Successful Living at Harbor Homes. This partnership offers dedicated clinical space to for a Manchester VAMC nurse practitioner to provide medical exams and check-ups. In addition, there is a registered nurse, social worker and peer support who offer additional wrap-around services as needed.

And instead of merely referring Veterans to outside programs, the Manchester VAMC team goes a step further, introducing Veterans to service providers at the new or ancillary facilities, an approach known as a warm handoff. In doing so, VA staff aims to enhance a Veteran’s continuity of care by increasing collaboration between their multiple health care providers.

Thanks to efforts like this at VAMCs across the country, Veteran homelessness in the United States has been cut nearly in half between 2010 and 2016. And although VA has led the charge, these results were not achieved alone. The initiative has been so successful because communities have opened their arms and their hearts to Veterans in their area who need help – just as they did in Nashua, NH.

Even as we take a moment to celebrate Nashua’s achievement, it will take sustained, coordinated efforts to ensure that any Veteran’s experience with homelessness in the future is rare, brief, and nonrecurring. To learn how you can support your local VA’s efforts, visit www.va.gov/homeless.

  • If you are a resident of the Greater Nashua region who is facing homelessness or if you know someone who is, please call the Nashua Coordinated Access line at 844-800-9911 or reach out via email at hope@nhpartnership.org.
  • Visit VA’s website to learn about employment initiatives and other programs for Veterans exiting homelessness.
  • Refer Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless to their local VA Medical Center, where VA staff are ready to assist, or urge them to call 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838).

Image of Emily ReisineImage of Kristin PresslyEmily Reisine is a licensed clinical social worker and homeless coordinator at the Manchester VAMC. She has been working with homeless Veterans since 2006, after graduating from Boston College with a masters in social work. Kristin Pressly is the Manchester VA Medical Center’s public affairs officer. In addition to being a longtime communicator , she is an Adaptive Volunteer Ski Instructor for New England Healing Sports Association, which was founded by Vietnam Veterans, offers adaptive and able-bodied ski instruction for our nation’s heroes.

 

 

 

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-- VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you'd like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Jennifer Vorump    

    I lose my home in 14 days. I have looked everywhere for help. Please help me if you can

    1. Veteran NCO    

      Where are you Jennifer? Did you try Wounded Warriors? Are you a Disabled Veteran? They have a program designed for that. I presume your a Veteran but regardless, I know there are temporary residences set up for women and children across our nation. I worked in the homeless ministry for several years. I know a few things.

  2. Raymond Stephen Mackner    

    Hello, I can’t live in Florida any more(ft myers)due to my sinus problems. My VA dr suggested I move back north. Everywhere I apply for senior housing has a waiting list of 6+months. I end up sleeping in my car , can you help me? Ray Mackner. (redacted) Vietnam Vet

  3. Hal Christian    

    Where are located Jenn?

  4. Ricky l france    

    God bless you all. i have s son in organ that could use some help. Drugs have prevented him from taking the help. Thanks for what you do. I’m a veteran and thank god every day for people who care and help our needy vets

  5. Ray Prezzy    

    We need every Veteran to get a VASH Voucher that will allow them to seek permanent housing.

    I was homeless for six months and with the help of my congressman Garamendi I received a Voucher in 3 months. I am thankful for his assistance but as a soldier you never leave a fellow soldier behind, I am working with other Veterans in Fairfield CA to create THE VASH BRIGADE, INC. It will be a non profit with the mission to end Veterans Homeless giving every Veteran a Vash Voucher to get the housing they deserve.

    Ray

  6. Ricky l france    

    I’m in Barnegat NJ. My son is in Medford organ. He has benn in in rehab. Was given. House by wounded warriors. Lost it all to drugs.

  7. W. Kerker    

    As someone who works with homeless veterans and at risk veterans on a daily basis I find it hard to believe that they can claim that they have ended veteran homelessness. Even with the programs that are active and available there are so many hurdles to providing stable housing.

  8. Barbie Dunn    

    I have seen homeless veterans up close and personal.I assisted running a homeless shelter in No. Ca.
    My heart breaks for those soldiers.Some have addictions very sad what war can do to our men and women.
    I will always be there for all of them .
    Barbie

  9. LESLIE HOBSON    

    As a Veteran, I say thank you to everyone that is making this happen, and it is my prayer that as Americans we pull together to end all homelessness, and reach out to help our disadvantaged children, and all citizens with difficulties..WE do not need to wait on our government to do this…we are Americans so we can accomplish this.

Comments are closed.