On October 21 the Wayne Township Trustee Office participated in the annual Stand Down event held at the Volunteers of America-Richard Lugar Safe Haven for Veterans on Fairfield Avenue in Fort Wayne. It was a crisp fall day and a little cold working our booth outside and under a tent, but it was a good experience nonetheless. After all, many of the veterans passing through who use Safe Haven’s services have themselves been homeless and have experienced much harsher weather on a daily basis.
Over 200 veterans attended this year’s Stand Down, sampling services from the many agencies there that day. Also provided were medical services like testing and immunizations, free hot chocolate and coffee, free haircuts and a hot lunch served in the facility’s dining hall.
Since 2014 the 25-bed Safe Haven facility has been serving Fort Wayne’s veterans. According to their website “Safe Haven is a specialized version of the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Contractual Residential Program, funded by the Veterans Administration.”
“In partnership with the Veterans Administration (VA) and referring agencies, Volunteers of America Indiana provides case management, financial support, employment services, and programs to honorably discharged United States homeless veterans. All veteran programs provide help to facilitate individuals and/or veteran families become more self-sufficient.”
In Fort Wayne, those programs include Safe Haven and the Liberty Landing, where case management and 40 beds are provided for veterans transitioning out of homelessness, as well as the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP), a federal program funded through the U.S. Department of Labor that focuses on identifying and addressing barriers to employment faced by chronically homeless veterans in Allen County.
According to their brochure, the HVRP identifies and targets a veteran’s skills and competencies and matches them to the demands of his or her own region “to develop formal job-driven employment and training service plans.” Then the progress of each client is tracked through a formal case management process.
The Reintegration Program partners with other community agencies “to provide holistic services to veterans including healthcare, housing, rehabilitation services, alcohol and drug rehab, therapeutic services, PTSD and traumatic brain injury assessment and treatment, domestic abuse and sexual trauma counseling and care, vision and dental services, physical and mental health services, and job readiness.”
As Veteran’s Day approaches and the colder weather reminds me of the challenges faced by all those who are homeless, I am heartened to know that such programs as Safe Haven, Liberty Landing and HVRP are out there in our community to address the needs of those whom we owe so much. As we say on our marquee this month “Veterans have earned our everlasting gratitude.”
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