Ending Homelessness Among Veterans a Worthy Goal for 2018

Happy New Year.

The Thomas fire affected many of our family, friends and associates in Ventura County and disrupted our daily routines. I hope and pray that 2018 is free of disasters and we can all enjoy a period of peace, prosperity and joy.

A special thank you goes out to all the firefighters, emergency operations center personnel, disaster response teams and the many agencies and organizations from within and outside of Ventura County that provided services and shelter to those in need in our community.

Another area of housing that has been difficult for so many is homelessness. We are in full support of Ventura County’s efforts to end veteran homelessness in Ventura County.

The Continuum of Care was preparing to conduct its annual point in time count in January but due to the fires has had to postpone the homeless count until February. The point in time count is important to our community because it determines Ventura County’s federal and state financial assistance for homelessness. I will provide an update next month on the homeless count date.

In the meantime, veterans housing vouchers are available for qualified homeless veterans in Oxnard and Ventura. Contact me if you want to be a part of Ventura County’s efforts to leave no veteran behind.

In other news, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced its new Decision Ready Claim (DRC) initiative to deliver faster disability claim decisions to veterans. Veterans who choose to submit their claim under DRC can expect to receive a decision within 30 days from the time the VA receives it. To file under DRC, veterans must work with an accredited Veteran Service Organization representative, who will ensure all supporting evidence such as medical exams and military service records are included with the claim submission. This advance preparation allows claims to be assigned immediately to claims processors for a quick decision.

Last month I wrote about the VA’s veteran ID card program. According to Curt Cashour, the VA’s press secretary, more than 45,000 veterans have provided their emails to express interest in the Veteran ID Card.  The VA will send follow-up emails with instructions on how to apply. As of Dec. 27, the VA ID card team has processed and completed more than 6,616 applications to ensure veterans receive their printed ID cards as soon as possible. We are excited finally to begin providing this resource to Veterans, fulfilling a promise that was made to them more than two years ago under the previous Administration, which never followed through on it, Cashour said.  Go to vets.gov and select the link at the bottom of the page to get on the VA’s list for a veteran ID card.

Veteran events

Jan. 9: 9:-11:30 a.m., Oxnard Job Center, 2901 N. Ventura Road, 3rd Floor, Oxnard. Information is available about employment and training programs through the Oxnard America’s Job Center Counseling & Rehabilitation to get back to work and civilian life Information on the GI Bill/Loans, VA medical and federal benefits. For more information, call EDD at 805-288-8400.

Veterans’ services

VA Oxnard Community Based Outpatient Clinic: 1690 Universe Circle, Oxnard. 805-204-9135. Offers primary care services, lab work, x-rays and mental health services. Veterans can enroll in the VA Healthcare System and submit an application for the VA Healthcare ID card. No emergency services are available.

Vet Center: 790 East Clara St., Suite 100, Ventura. 805-585-1860. Center provides a wide range of counseling, outreach and referral services to combat veterans and their families.

VA benefits: Representative provides VA intake services to active duty military members transitioning out of the service and retirees at  Naval Base Ventura County at the Fleet and Family Service Center. Call Michele for more information at 424-901-9006.

Oxnard Family Circle: Veterans Adult Day Health Care program is a VA contracted service at 2100 Outlet Center Drive, Oxnard. 805-385-4180. The center provides assistance in the maintenance of veteran’s health and support for the activities of daily living. They have a specialized veterans room.

Ventura Court Veterans Intervention Program: Veterans Court is a California Superior Court program supported by the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. This specialized court hears criminal cases involving honorably discharged veterans who suffer from the effects of combat-related psychological injuries or substance abuse. The benefit of the Veterans Court is that veterans will be provided access to mental health and addiction treatment, housing, job placement services and a reduced overall sentence. Participation is not automatic and veterans must follow a referral process to be considered. If you decide you want to be considered for the Ventura Veterans Court, ask your attorney or the judge to refer your case.

Ventura County Veterans Service Office (VSO): 5740 Ralston St. Suite 304, Ventura. 805-477-5155. The office provides VA accredited representatives to assist with VA claims. VSO representatives are available at several field offices throughout the county.

VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System billing office: Phone number is 310-478-3711 x40134.

Veterans Home of California — Ventura: 10900 Telephone Road Ventura. It is a California Department of Veterans Affairs’ facility. The veterans home is a 60-bed residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE), also known as assisted living.  All health care needs, meals, transportation and activities are provided by the veterans home, in partnership with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Veterans who are age 55 and older are eligible to apply for admission. Contact the admissions office at 805-659-7502 or 805-659-7507 for more information.

If you would like to learn about veteran services and programs or are in need of assistance please contact JC Oberst at 482-6550 or jc.oberst@gcvf.org.

Source: VC Star article from December 31, 2017