Our Veterans Housing Services Program has housed over 230 veterans and family members
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Veterans Housing Services Program
Since its inception our Veterans Housing Services Program has housed over 230 veterans and family members and prevented more than 40 from becoming homeless. The Veterans Administration funds this program to work toward ending veteran homelessness. We originally received this grant October 2014 in response to the great need to serve the large population of veterans experiencing homelessness in Buncombe County. This year 45% of people experiencing homelessness in Buncombe County are veterans, compared to only 7% nationally.
Our Veterans Housing Services Program includes both Housing and Homelessness Prevention services. Both use the Housing First model to provide short-term financial support and case management to individuals and families at imminent risk of homelessness and those experiencing literal homelessness in Buncombe County. The program’s temporary financial assistance pays rent and utility arrears, short-term rental and/or utility assistance and can also provide move-in cost assistance in cases where a client loses their current housing. The program offers resources and services tailored to the unique needs of each person or family.
Homeward Bound’s Veterans Housing Services Program works closely with community partners to ensure each veteran household receives the most appropriate housing intervention. The Veteran’s Coordinated Assessment Meeting assembles each week and includes members from our local Veterans Administration’s Homelessness Program, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries, First at Blue Ridge and other local agencies dedicated to serving veterans.
After spending over a year in Afghanistan, John returned home suffering from PTSD, depression and severe anxiety. Self-medicating with alcohol and other drugs only made things worse. Unable to keep a job, John spent the next four years living in the woods. During that time, he met Allison, who was also struggling with depression and drug addiction. They shared a tent and had to rely on Allison’s little dog to protect them from strangers robbing or attacking them while they were sleeping.
The couple first went to AHOPE in June 2017 and in less than two weeks were connected with Julie Putnam, case worker for Homeward Bound’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF). Julie found the couple a small, cheerful apartment and they moved in on August 1st. Over the next several months, both John and Allison worked so hard to achieve the goals they had set for themselves. They were connected to mental health resources and began going to therapy. They both chose to enroll in an outpatient drug treatment program that they traveled to on the bus three days a week. Within a few months, they had graduated to just one day a week, and shortly after they graduated from the program. While in treatment, they were each searching for employment. Although challenging and sometimes discouraging due a lack of recent job history, they both kept trying. Allison worked diligently on creating a winning resume and ultimately got a job that she loves. John found short-term employment and was soon offered a full-time position as well as a promotion.
John and Allison began paying 100% of their rent in March 2018 and were discharged from SSVF in April. At their last case management meeting, Allison invited her parents to sit in. They had come from South Carolina to visit their daughter for the first time in years, and they were all so grateful. Allison’s dad shed tears of happiness while he thanked Homeward Bound for helping his little girl get out of the woods. The couple hopes to soon purchase a vehicle and someday their own house. Eventually, they wish to start a family.
Allison reported that in the year prior to getting back into housing she’d had two ER visits, one ambulance transport, one inpatient hospital stay, and 20 interactions with crisis centers/suicide hotlines. John reported 25+ crisis center/suicide hotline interactions. After being housed, Allison reported no hospital visits or crisis interactions and John reported one doctor’s visit related to the flu and no crisis interactions.
Together we can end veteran homelessness. Homeward Bound’s mission is to find permanent solutions to end homelessness.
A monthly gift allows you to spread the financial impact of your giving across the entire year, lessening a one-time drain on your resources. Also, recurring gifts help Homeward Bound as we can more accurately predict income in advance, which helps with longer range budgeting and decision-making.
The Homeward Bound community includes caring staff, volunteers, board members, and people experiencing or moving out of homelessness. We believe that housing is a human right and use the “Housing First” national best practice to end homelessness. We care about the most vulnerable among us and work every day to help them improve their lives. Join us!
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Address: 204 Haywood Street, Asheville, North Carolina
Phone: (828) 253-4723 or (828) 254-6351.
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. (Appointment needed for food boxes)
Services: The Salvation Army provides food boxes for families in need of emergency food assistance. Religious counseling, social counseling, material family assistance, transient program (Shelter & Meals) Fees: None. www.salvationarmyusa.org.
WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA RESCUE MISSION, INC.
Address: 225 Patton Avenue, PO Box 909 Asheville, North Carolina
Phone Admin: (828) 254-1529 Clinical: (828) 254-0471. Fax: 254-0428
Services: Three meals are served daily to rehabilitation residents. Two meals are served to individuals living on the street. Other needs of residents are also addressed. WNC Rescue Ministries provides food boxes for families in need of emergency food assistance. www.wcrminc.org.