As an essential service to our community, our Veterans Connection office will remain open during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak to continue serving our veterans and their families.
Please continue to check this page for updates on our services and available resources, our ongoing response to this worldwide pandemic, and success stories of veterans we have rescued during this critical period.
At this time, out of an abundance of caution, we encourage you to call our office at 805-482-6550 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
If neither option is possible, then you may drop by our office, as long as you are not experiencing any cold or flu symptoms.
If you are a homebound, disabled, or immobile veteran seeking assistance with necessities, such as grocery shopping, picking up vital prescriptions, etc., we can lend you a hand during this challenging time. Please call us immediately at 805-482-6550.
Our Response to COVID-19
To ensure that we continue to provide critical care for the veterans and their families in our community, we have enhanced or established the following programs:
- Adapting our Mobile Veteran Outreach program (MVO) to shelter homeless veterans into state-funded hotel/motel rooms (in partnership with United Way of Ventura County)
- Engaging homeless, disabled, or immobile veterans to determine their immediate needs and risks, as well as verify whether they are being cared for by family members or care-givers
- Creating COVID-19 Kits, which include bottles of made-in-house hand sanitizer, pre-manufactured gloves, and face masks, for all of the above veterans who otherwise cannot access them
- Partnering with Healing in America to provide an online group meditation and self-healing session every first Thursday evening
Veterans We Have Rescued from COVID-19
Brent Oleneck has been homeless for 9 of his 51 years… despite his two honorable discharges (U.S. Air Force 1992-96), (U.S. Navy 2002-04) and no criminal record.
Brent had been treated for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but those radiation treatments gave him throat cancer. He’s now too weak to work.
His condition puts him at high risk for COVID-19 and substantial medical support to survive. MVO got he and his dog housed into a state-funded motel room in partnership with United Way of Ventura County.
Brian and Brandy – Brian is a U.S. Army veteran (2007-09).
Brian is unable to work because he serves as Brandy’s full-time caregiver. She has frequent seizures as a result of brain damage from being hit by a drunk driver.
They were living in a vehicle with their dog Scrappy. However, their car is disabled, leaving Brandy without reliable transportation to medical appointments, and Brian needing a ride to get her medications. MVO facilitated placing them into a state-funded hotel room as part of COVID-19 prevention.
Donovan Thomas is a U.S. Army Reserve veteran (1983-88).
Donovan was recently laid off from his job at a car wash due to the business being deemed “non-essential” according to COVID-19 guidelines.
Gold Coast Veterans Foundation partnered with United Way of Ventura County to get him off the streets and place him in a hotel for the months of April and May.
Marquise Holloway is a recently discharged U.S. Army veteran (2017-20).
He has a good job at Lowe’s, but alimony and child support left him to live in his car. MVO was able to place him in a state-funded motel room during the COVID-19 prevention effort, as well as provide gas money to get to and from work until he gets paid.
Marquise is smiling because he has a safe, clean place to sleep and continue rebuilding his life.
Ben Preston is a Seabee veteran, with deployments to Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia, Japan, and a multinational rescue mission in Kenya when a building collapsed. He earned a Seabee Combat Warfare Designation, Good Conduct Medal, Expert Marksman Ribbon, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, and Navy “Battle E” Ribbon.
After the Navy, Ben was in and out of jail for alcohol abuse and being drunk in public. Our MVO Director worked intensively with Ben to identify and engage in the resources and activities that got his life back on track. He is now 4 months sober and in rehab. Ben is now seeking full time employment.
Ben credits GCVF as being a big part in his success: “Gold Coast Veterans Foundation bridged an invisible gap that I and other veterans can’t locate, let alone get out of. I hate saying it, but I really just needed to accept f***ing up, change, and move on. In other words it helped me find the tools I didn’t even know I needed, like cognitive behavioral therapy or a wellness recovery action plan… because of the courage and commitment you had to put boots on the ground and get me here. Sobriety is paramount to my being! I just needed to be reminded why, and thank you seriously for your part in finding myself.”
Mike and Ana Garcia – Mike did two combat tours in Iraq. Ana served in Kuwait.
Ana is a MST survivor, but VA is delaying her claim. Mike has a 10% disability rating (for Tinnitus), but the VA denied his primary claim for PTSD. GCVF is working to help Mike see a Psychiatrist to substantiate his PTSD claim so we can assist him in re-filing. Now 5 months pregnant, Ana’s MST has resulted in her barely speaking.
Mike had part time work as a carpenter, but this actually disqualified them for housing assistance. They’ve also been turned down for housing because of their service dog, Wishbone. Wishbone is much needed for Ana, but the certification is incomplete.
This pregnant veteran couple and their service dog have been living in a vehicle for two years – first in a car, and now in a small camper with no utility hookups.
With this pregnant couple being at high risk for COVID-19, the MVO program was finally able to place them into one of the state-funded motel rooms, where they will have safe housing for the months of April and May. We’re now intensely focused on finding housing for them in the critical period before and shortly after their child is born.
John “JT” Taylor served during the Vietnam War.
JT is managing his way through stage three kidney failure and other ongoing medical difficulties.
Gold Coast Veterans Foundation partnered with United Way of Ventura County to get JT off the streets and place him in a hotel for the month of May while he is applying for permanent housing.
COVID-19 Helpful Resources
Ventura County COVID-19 Information
- Total Cases in Ventura County (updated daily at 5:00 p.m. PDT)
- Ventura County Emergency Order – “Stay Well at Home”
- Modified Health Order – Press Release dated June 11, 2020
- “Stay Well at Home”: Safely Reopening Ventura County – May 29, 2020
- “Stay Well at Home”: Safely Reopening Ventura County – May 20, 2020
- “Stay Well at Home”: Safely Reopening Ventura County – May 7, 2020
- “Stay Well at Home” Updated Emergency Order – Press Release dated April 18, 2020
- Full Text of the Updated “Stay Well at Home” Emergency Order – April 18, 2020
- “Stay Well at Home” Updated Emergency Order – Press Release dated April 9, 2020
- Full Text of the Updated “Stay Well at Home” Emergency Order – April 9, 2020
- Full Text of the Modified “Stay Well at Home” Emergency Order – March 31, 2020
- “Stay Well At Home” Emergency Order for Ventura County – Press Release dated March 20, 2020
- Full Text of the “Stay Well at Home” Emergency Order – March 20, 2020
- COVID-19 Testing Information (as of June 11, 2020)
- What You Need to Know About COVID-19
- Steps to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 If You Are Sick
- Stop the Spread of Germs
- Social Distancing is Critical
- Keeping Patients on Dialysis Safe During COVID-19
- Face Coverings
- Grocery Stores Opening Early for Seniors, the Disabled, and Pregnant Women
- Meal Service Options for Seniors and the Disabled
- CalFresh Recipients: Purchasing Groceries Online
- Food Share of Ventura County Pop-Up Pantries (updated weekly)
- School-Provided Meals (for each Ventura County school district)
- Free Baby Diapers Resource List
- How to Avoid Coronavirus Scams
- Stimulus Check Scams
- IRS Official Website: Stimulus Check Updates
- How to Report Price Gouging in Ventura County
Information About VA Benefit Debt
- Announcement from the VA Debt Management Center (DMC) – April 13, 2020
- VA Extends Financial, Benefits and Claims Relief to Veterans – Press Release dated April 3, 2020
Information About Taxes
- Information for VA and SSI Recipients Who Don’t File Taxes and Have Dependents (deadline has passed for additional income per eligible child for Tax Year 2019)
- Federal Income Tax
- State of California Income Tax
- Ventura County Property Tax
- Free Income Tax Preparation Assistance (through the Conejo Senior Volunteer Program)
Assistance for Employees
- FAQ: Filing for Unemployment Claims or Disability/Paid Family Leave Benefits (also contains information for employers)
- DAV’s COVID-19 Unemployment Relief (available on a first-come, first serve basis)
- Ventura County Business Compliance and Enforcement Line
- Ventura County Rapid Response Grant (available for individuals, families, and small businesses)
- Economic Development Collaborative: No-Cost Business Consulting and Disaster Loans
- Small Business Administration: Filing for a Low-Interest Loan
- Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV): Quick-Response Loan
- Jewish Free Loan Association
VA Benefits and Claims Assistance
Due to the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) guidance, Veterans Claims Officer (VCO) services at our office on Wednesdays and at all of the field offices in Ventura County are suspended until further notice.
- In the meantime, the Ventura County Veterans Service Office (VSO) is offering appointments by phone through their main office in Ventura. To make an appointment, call 805-477-5155.
- If you have any documents to drop off, you may drop those off in the mailbox on the first floor of the County of Ventura Human Services Agency (HSA) building (just past the bathrooms on your left). The address of the HSA building is 5740 Ralston St., Ventura, CA 93003.
- Please review the following notices provided by the VSO regarding these temporary service adjustments:
We also invite you to sign up to our email list so that in addition to an update here on our website, you will receive a notification when our VCO services resume.
Restorative and Wellness Programs
Our partners at Healing in America provide a highly effective group meditation program that is very well respected and trusted by Ventura County veterans.
- We normally host a monthly meditation session in our Camarillo office; however, the current “Stay Well at Home” order requires these sessions to now be provided online.
- Veterans can participate in this critically important event using the Internet, through a FREE Guided Meditation and Distant Healing Webinar every first Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. PDT. Please view the following image below for more information on how to participate.