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Engaging Veterans in Services Effective Program Strategies for Homeless Veterans Utica Public Housing AmeriCorps Project Collaboration between the Municipal.

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Presentation on theme: "Engaging Veterans in Services Effective Program Strategies for Homeless Veterans Utica Public Housing AmeriCorps Project Collaboration between the Municipal."— Presentation transcript:

1 Engaging Veterans in Services Effective Program Strategies for Homeless Veterans Utica Public Housing AmeriCorps Project Collaboration between the Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Utica, New York & Central New York Veterans’ Outreach Center

2 Presentation Overview Utica AmeriCorps Program Overview CNY Veterans Outreach Center Mission/Programs Needs of Homeless Veterans Rural Characteristics Rural Challenges Rural Homelessness Service Strategies Outreach Strategies Service Methodologies Role of AmeriCorps Members Strengths of Program Model Success of Program Model

3 Presentation Overview We would like to thank our funders:

4 Utica Public Housing AmeriCorps Project - Overview Funded by the U.S. Corp. for National Service, NYS Commission on National and Community Service, & Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties. 12 FT AmeriCorps members 10 Assigned to Housing Authority for Financial Literacy, Employment Readiness, Self-Sufficiency Programs, Housing Information & Referral Center. 2 Members Placed at CNY Veterans Outreach Center. Services coordinated among components and sites.

5 CNY Veterans Outreach Center Founded in 2007 by Veteran with Housing Background. Operates a community-based outreach/supportive services center for veterans One of five HUD Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration Pilot grantees in U.S. Received funding from the VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families AmeriCorps members assist with linking veterans with supportive services and outreach. Serves 6 counties: Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Oneida, Herkimer, Madison Targets homeless veterans and their families

6 Needs of homeless veterans Growing number of veterans needing services. Since May 2011, 260 homeless/at-risk veterans served. 25% increase in referrals between 2011 and Data analysis shows that 4,338 veterans in service area are homeless or at risk of losing their housing. Area is primarily rural with small urban centers. Service region has high saturation levels of veterans

7 Rural Characteristics Geography 1/3 of OEF/OIF Veterans return to rural areas Major needs Transportation Availability of services Domestic Violence Nutrition & food resources Cultural & Social Importance of family and immediate/local community Self-reliance, independence and PRIDE Ok to trade, borrow money, borrow cars, rely on others for childcare, etc. NOT ok for able-bodied adults to rely on Social Services Belief that government is bad, wasteful, does not understand rural populations Distrust of “outsiders” Drugs & Alcohol Drinking & functional alcoholism is ok Meth and marijuana are ok – not “city” drugs

8 Rural Challenges Importance of community stakeholders Clergy, veteran organizations, criminal justice personnel, etc. Rural individuals tend to be less educated and poorer and are less likely to have employer-based health insurance Services & Supports Fewer resources Transportation Lack of emergency shelters/housing Population Dispersed Lack of available housing Negative attitude of some social service providers toward clients

9 Rural Homelessness Street homeless Couch surfing Overcrowding Family Friends Conditions not meant for human habitation Neighbors can be few & far between, which means that people may not know how bad your living situation really is…

10 Service Strategies Hub and Spoke model. Community-based centers with strong outreach Outreach is critical. Mobile van, home visits, community outreach locations, marketing/advertising Collaborations with local service/housing providers Housing first model. Focus on homelessness prevention/rapid rehousing

11 Outreach Strategies Relationships VA, HUD, DOL, Vocational Rehabilitation, Legal Aid services, TANF, schools Local military bases, National Guard and Reserves Collaboration with community partners National Grid (other utility providers) VFWs & Legions Hospitals/criminal justice/courts Grassroots organizations Religious organizations

12 Outreach Strategies Advertising Libraries, schools, stores, gas stations… Mobile Outreach Transportation Meeting people where they are Word of mouth DAV partnerships Connection to Indian/Tribal Nations Use technology - Lap top (with wireless), iPad, cell phone, GPS, portable scanner, portable printer

13 Service Methodologies Center-Based and Mobile Platforms for Providing Services Intake, Screening, Supportive Services Plan Pocket Guide for Services Rapid Housing Assistance Supportive Services Coordination Assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits Temporary Financial Assistance Community Linkages

14 Role of AmeriCorps Members Two AmeriCorps members assigned. One is a member of the Naval Reserve and pursuing MSW. Members provide outreach, direct assistance to homeless veterans in receiving services and benefits. As of August 1, 2013, 36 homeless veterans provided placement/supportive services. Services include job search, food assistance, benefits, transportation, referrals to legal aid, eviction prevention, utility assistance, furniture, job/career development.

15 Strengths of Program Model Holistic service coordination Center-based and strong outreach component Community Collaborations Linkages with existing housing/human service programs Client-centered model Peer support Housing First Model Client follow-up assistance

16 Success of Program Model Placement in safe, affordable, quality housing Help in accessing benefits Improved health care/nutrition Connect services to local services/community Reduce isolation of veterans Assistance in obtaining jobs/economic self- sufficiency

17 More information John Furman Utica Municipal Housing Authority


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