Reaching the “Unreachable”
While VA and other systems of care offer a broad range of services to improve the lives of our at-risk veterans, because of many veterans’ lack of access, inability, or failure to engage in services, these life-saving benefits are often not used by a population that needs it most. These are the cases that “fall through the cracks,” with the most tragic consequences.
Mobile Veteran Outreach (MVO) fixes that crack in the system by delivering one-on-one personalize outreach and engagement activities directly to the locations where this target population lives.
Our “Secret Weapon”
A formerly homeless veteran (now university-certified in psychology/substance abuse disorders) leads the MVO outreach team. Having “lived the life,” and sharing the same experiences, he has developed a far deeper understanding of homeless veterans’ psychology… and a “sixth sense” for how to successfully interact with this population. No clinical staff or social services provider could have this unique ability to reach and engage veterans into services, or assess their needs.
The MVO Director and his service dog, Leo, drive directly to homeless encampments, gathering spots, tents, freeway overpasses, and alleys, as well as engaging homeless persons individually on the street, where he can directly engage veterans regarding their earned benefits and a range of services to change their trajectory from negative to positive. The outreach, benefits, services, counseling, and all other assistance is free of charge.
Why Outreach Matters
Many veterans simply do not have the means, mobility, sobriety, or mental focus to physically access benefits and services that would greatly improve (or often save) their life. Homeless veterans on the streets are by far the most difficult to serve. They routinely decline contact or services from social services, law enforcement, or faith-based organizations. The vast majority (90%+) are below accepted low-Income, poverty, and “high-risk” thresholds.
But these veterans are also at the highest risk of having significant problems with physical and mental health, substance abuse, injury, and violence. They are the hardest to reach, the hardest to serve, have the poorest quality of life, and are at the highest risk of premature death. MVO saves lives.
ANA and MICHAEL
2 Veterans, living in a vehicle on the street, wife 6 months pregnant
- Ana is an Army veteran who served in Kuwait and a survivor of MST (Military Sexual Trauma)
- Michael is a Navy combat veteran (Iraq) suffering from PTSD
- Our MVO team was working with this family for months to get them into safe low-income housing
- Ana gave birth to a baby girl at 3 PM on August 8th
- An hour after she gave birth, the largest nonprofit in the region denied their housing application…because her husband had not turned in his paycheck stubs on that day (He had taken Ana to the hospital instead)
- Our MVO team didn’t want Ana’s baby to be born into homelessness and live in a vehicle
- We went into full crisis mode, and reached out to all of our community partners
- We secured a month of immediate emergency motel housing
- We finally got them qualified for long-term subsidized housing
- This veteran family is now moving toward selfsufficiency, with a healthy baby!
- Our motto: We catch the veterans that “fall through the cracks” in the system
- We caught their baby too.
US Army Veteran, Amputee with one leg, riding a bicycle for primary transportation
- Steadfastly refused VA healthcare and housing for well over 6 years
- MVO director and his unique service dog engaged this veteran on the street
- MVO slowly built a relationship based on trust and care over the course of a year
- GCVF helped procure a new prosthetic leg for this veteran
- GCVF encouraged and assisted with enrollment in VA, SSI and other benefits
- GCVF was instrumental in him securing $22,000 in unclaimed SSI back-benefits
- Client has accepted VA housing assistance for the first time in 6+ years
- Client is now finally willing to re-engage in his earned VA healthcare
- Mikey now has the components to be self-sufficient and not homeless on the street
- GCVF remains fully engaged with Mikey—so he will stay engaged in services
2 Honorable discharges (USAF & USN)
2 Service-related cancers
Living in a van on the street with his dog
- Age 51, no criminal record, homeless for the last 7 years
- VA Treatment for one type of cancer (Lymphoma) caused him to get a second type of (Throat) cancer
- Disenfranchised, no faith in VA or government, highly resistant to any more paperwork or “processing”
- Fully capable and willing, but too weak to work (cancer + treatment) – $18K in student debt
- Difficulty eating, health deteriorating, losing weight (Brent is six feet tall and 122 pounds)
- Was placed in emergency housing funded through VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families
- Was pressured by VA rep to seek and accept first available “Exit to Housing” option
- Not having eaten or slept, and in pain from his cancer, he expressed frustration and mistrust over this pressure
- Salvation Army promptly evicted him from the motel for “not actively seeking housing”
- Now living in a van on the street once again, resigned to his fate with little hope
- If completed in time, Veterans’ Village will offer a higher level of care, compassion, housing, and peace for Brent