“Highest Risk” Homeless Veterans Placed in Emergency Housing
CAMARILLO, CALIF. (PRWEB) MAY 11, 2020 — The region’s leading non-profit for veteran services and its partner agencies, have placed 20 of the highest risk military veterans into virus-safe shelter as part of its ASAP (Accelerated Shelter And Protection) program. Gold Coast Veterans Foundation is working with United Way, State and Ventura County agencies to place extreme high-risk homeless veterans in motel rooms, achieving three goals. Veterans are safely housed, their risk of contracting COVID-19 is reduced, and its potential spread to the public is reduced. GCVF is a small Camarillo agency noted for its unique ability to reach, engage, and rescue the most difficult, contact-resistant, and hardest to serve veterans often “written off” by other public and private social service agencies.
Emergency motel rooms have been provided by United Way, State and County agencies for 300 homeless to date. The task of locating, engaging, transporting, and placing homeless veterans into these rooms has gone to GCVF. The organization’s Director of Veteran Outreach, Rafael Stoneman, points out that as difficult of a task as that is, it can be even harder once the veteran is placed. “Managing the interactions between some of the more difficult veterans, law enforcement, the motel management, and the public gets to be very stressful…” says Stoneman; “there needs to be a case manager… a buffer and problem-solver… that’s available 24/7 in order for the program to be sustainable. We provide that case management, including transportation and help with their essential needs… we even bring home-made hand sanitizer because they’re not able to find or afford it.”
Rescuing and placing veterans during the pandemic put an unexpected strain on the organization, which has not yet received any government funding. Stoneman had recently been through a challenging battle to help a Navy combat veteran and his 5 months pregnant Army veteran wife (who is suffering from PTSD). The couple, who had been living in a vehicle, were finally placed into a Ventura County funded motel room. “Three lives were saved when I got them into that motel…” said Stoneman, with a sigh of relief.
About 75% of the $100,000 in 2020 emergency funding has been pledged by foundations, including Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF), Gene Haas Family Foundation, Livingston Memorial Foundation, and the Hurlbut-Johnson Foundation via the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. But the sheer number of homeless veterans whose lives are at high risk for getting and/or spreading COVID-19 is enormous, and the program cannot keep up with current demand. The organization has launched a public appeal for funding to expand its life saving programs during the pandemic. Donations are urgently needed to ensure veterans are not without housing on May 15 when government funding is scheduled to end and private nonprofit funding is exhausted on May 30.
About Gold Coast Veterans Foundation – The leading non-profit serving veterans in Ventura County, GCVF provides a “one-stop” resource center connecting veterans with benefits and comprehensive care. Nine core programs intervene to disrupt the root causes of suffering, homelessness and poor life outcomes. These include mobile veteran outreach, case management, health care, job training & placement, workforce development, shelter/housing services, counseling, and wellness. The charitable organization has become highly respected for its ability to rescue and repair the lives of contact-resistant homeless veterans who were “written off” by other public and private social service agencies. All services free of charge. http://www.gcvf.org (805) 482-6550.