"Orlando VA Medical Center Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program"
Orlando VA Medical Center Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program Steven J. Shea, Ph.D. Chief of Psychology Orlando VAMC Who are homeless veterans? Mostly male and single Many have addiction and mental health disorders Many served in combat or war-zones They have served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq VA estimates nearly 150,000 veterans are homeless on any given night Why are veterans homeless? Many live with the lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse. Military occupations and training don’t frequently transfer over into civilian jobs, leaving some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment. Overview of Services The VA provided services to approximately 72,000 homeless veterans in FY 2006. These programs are designed to provide a continuum of care and include the following elements: Outreach Grant and Per Diem Programs Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs VASH Homeless Dental Program Justice Outreach Outreach The majority of veterans who received services in FY 2006 were contacted by the HCHV program outreach effort. The main goal of clinical outreach is to connect veterans who are homeless with needed services including: Medical Care Mental Health Services Substance Abuse Treatment Outreach Turning Point (Sanford) Salvation Army (Orlando) Rescue Mission (Orlando) Coalition for the Homeless (Orlando) Spirit of Joy Church (E. Orlando) CITA Mission (Melbourne) Daily Bread (Melbourne) Salvation Army (Titusville) Overlook Ministries (Merritt Island) Central Brevard Sharing Center (Cocoa) North Brevard Charities (South Titusville) Residential Treatment Programs provide ongoing psychosocial counseling in safe and substance free environment This includes Domiciliary and Compensated Work Therapy programs VASH VA Supportive Housing Partnership with HUD VA provides intensive case management Must meet definition of homelessness and be willing to accept case management services. Supportive Transitional Housing VA offers grants to non-VA organizations to help develop supportive housing programs. Since 1994 over 8,000 community based beds have been created for veterans who are homeless. Dental Must be in a VA residential program for 60 days Partnership with Orange Blossom Dental for treatment Justice Outreach Outreach to veterans who are incarcerated Working to establish veterans court Advocate for reduced or alternative sentencing Enrollment in VA for medical and mental health services CHALENG VA has collaborated with local communities in Project Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups (CHALENG) since 1993. The spirit of CHALENG is to empower communities to help veterans who are homeless: Regain their health Secure housing and employment Become productive citizens Veterans who are homeless need a coordinated effort that provides secure housing essential medical care substance abuse treatment and aftercare mental health counseling job training and assistance personal development and empowerment VA Commitment The VA is the largest integrated network of services designed to address the needs of veterans who are homeless. VA expects to spend $287 million for homeless specific programs in FY 2008. Nationwide there are over 300 program clinicians working to contact veterans who are homeless as part of our outreach efforts. Opportunities for Improvement Outreach More partnerships with community agencies Additional of contract residential beds Helpful VA resources VA Benefits 1-800-827-1000 Orlando VA 407-629-1599 VA Home Page www.va.gov VA benefit payment rates www.vba.va.gov/bin/vre/index.htm Heather S. Gallagher, LCSW Health Care For Homeless Veterans Program Coordinator 321-397-6614 or 407-393-0413 Ken Mueller, LCSW HUD/VASH Coordinator 321-397-6609 Brian Wright, LCSW Outreach Social Worker 321-397-6615