Stand Down Helps Homeless Veterans Get Back on Their Feet

The Ventura County Stand Down last month in Ventura was a huge success. I was most impressed by the welcoming spirit and cooperation among our military, the many service providers and large volunteer staff. Your efforts were greatly appreciated by the veterans in attendance. Thank you for a job well done.

The Stand Down event clearly demonstrates the community effort required to care for our homeless veterans. It will take an even larger community effort to end veteran homelessness in Ventura County.

The Ventura County Continuum of Care, the Veterans Administration, the Area Housing Authorities and the Salvation Army are at the forefront of the efforts to end veteran homelessness in Ventura County. The emphasis is on finding permanent housing solutions for all the county’s homeless not just veterans. Veterans make up about 7 percent of our Ventura County homeless population.

The Ventura County Continuum of Care Alliance is the title for a group of collaborative organizations that work tirelessly to address all the issues surrounding our county’s homeless. Their staff works out of the County Executive Office.

I wanted to better understand the resources available for homeless veterans and they have been collaborative and transparent. The individuals I have gotten to know are smart and hard working. They are the type of county employees we need on this challenge. Currently, they are working on grants to bring in the funding needed to provide homeless services. They are also drafting a new strategic plan to further reduce Ventura County’s homeless populations. I believe with the right support from the community we can end veteran homelessness in Ventura County.

If you come across a homeless person you want to connect with services, ask the person to call 211. They are available 24/7 and will direct the person to the closest services in the county.

Two programs are available to assist homeless veterans. The programs are the HUD-VASH voucher program and Supportive Services for Veteran Families.

HUD-VASH provides permanent housing for eligible homeless veterans who are single or eligible homeless veterans with families. Through this program, 104 veterans are successfully housed in Ventura County.

Sixteen veterans currently hold VASH vouchers in Ventura County. They are actively searching for affordable housing. The veterans are having difficulty locating apartments to rent in Oxnard and Ventura. If you manage or own a one-bedroom or studio apartment and want to rent to a veteran, call Amy Luomo, consultant housing specialist in the Ventura County Executive Office at 654-2876.

The second program, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is a Veterans Affairs program that assists low income per household size veterans with the goal of improving housing stability. The Salvation Army administers the program for Ventura County.

The funds are divided into three categories. Category one is for homeless prevention. It is used to keep a veteran from becoming homeless. Categories two and three are used for rapid re-housing for homeless veterans. The program has enrolled over 50 veterans since January in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The SSVF program provided assistance to 29 of these veterans. Unfortunately, not all veterans are eligible to use these programs. This is where the community must step up and assist our government providers by creating innovative solutions to fill in the gaps. If you want to be part of the solution to end veteran homelessness, I would like to hear from you.

I hope to be a part and I will continue to report on the progress made to end veteran homelessness in Ventura County.


Aug 4, 1790: Happy 227th birthday United States Coast Guard and its 56,000-member operating fleet of 243 Cutters, 201 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, and more than 1,600 boats.

Aug 19-20: Wings Over Camarillo Air Show, Camarillo Airport. The Wings Over Camarillo Air Show and the city of Camarillo are commemorative partners in the Department of Defense Vietnam War Commemoration. Vietnam War veterans will get in free with a letter from the Camarillo Wings Association. Plus Vietnam veterans who have not received a 50th-year commemorative pin will be provided one and a Vietnam bumper sticker. Contact or call 419-3530 for more information.

Aug 26: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. MilVet Expo, Camarillo Community Center, 1605 Burnley St., Camarillo. This free expo provides an opportunity for military and veterans to discover what benefits they are entitled to and what services are available from the represented agencies. The expo is sponsored by the Ventura County Military Collaborative. For more information, call 983-4850.

Of note

  • Gold Coast Veterans Foundation (GCVF) has announced a new matching donation fundraising campaign. The Martin V. & Martha K. Smith Foundation recently approved a matching funds grant. Gold Coast would like to thank the Smith Foundation for its support to our local veterans. Their continued support is making an impact in the lives of many Ventura County veterans. For more information on how to donate or to volunteer, visit or call 482-6550.

The Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Foundation was established by Martin “Bud” Smith and his wife Martha with the mission “To enhance the quality of life for residents of Ventura County.”  Bud, the leading land and business developer in Ventura County for more than 50 years, and his wife hoped the foundation would involve future generations of their family in continuing their appreciation of the county and their care and concern for strengthening the community. Four of their descendants serve on the foundation’s board. Joining the Ventura County Community Foundation as a support organization in 1994, the Martin V. & Marth K. Smith Foundation provides funding to nonprofits in Ventura County through an annual grant program, with an emphasis on organizations serving the Oxnard plain.

  • In addition, free wheelchairs are available for veterans thanks in large part to the efforts of the Knights of Columbus – Holy Cross Catholic Church in Moorpark. Call 482-6550 to get your wheelchair today. Supplies are limited.

If you are a veteran in need or would like to make a comment, please contact JC Oberst at 482-6550 or

Source: VC Star article from August 6, 2017