Homeless Veterans & Awareness

By SGTMAJ James J. Schickel (Ret.)

California is home to nearly 2 million Veterans, of which, it is estimated that roughly 19,000 are homeless. Through resilient outreach, state-wide Collaboratives, strong partnerships, advocacy, and services for all California Veterans, CalVet has established an aggressive and proactive leadership role in the fight to end homelessness. CalVet will significantly decrease, end, and prevent future chronic homelessness among the veteran population by 2015; aligning ourselves with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ plan to end homelessness.

The tragedy of homelessness among Veterans persists, even when the economy is robust and unemployment is low. According to recent studies, unlike their Vietnam counterparts, whose circumstances caused them to fall into homelessness within 13 years, OIF/OEF Veterans find themselves in a downward spiral towards homelessness, within 3 years. CalVet recognizes the need for outreach programs and information awareness to returning veterans, especially Reserve and National Guard service members, and is working in conjunction with various State and local agencies throughout California to assist Veterans during their transition.

CalVet Homes provides primary care and services, in a home-like environment to our state’s aged or disabled Veterans in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. Our system of eight Veterans homes provide comprehensive residential and nursing care housing, including medical, dental, pharmacy, rehabilitation services, and social activities. Residents engage in a wide range of on-site and off-site activities. Historically, CalVet has cared for Veterans, which begins with our admission process and continues with premier care. Additionally, CalVet has several pilot programs that provide intensive therapy and care to homeless Veterans. This enables them to have a stable housing environment. CalVet Homes also provide onsite claim services.

Veterans who are age 55 and above, and discharged from active military service under honorable conditions, are eligible to apply for admission. Historically, the age requirement is waived for disabled or homeless Veterans needing care.

CalVet forged partnerships with USDVA and non-profits to meet the needs of the homeless Veteran population. CalVet has had an unwavering commitment on providing long-term care housing to homeless Veterans. This effort in 2013 resulted in the following percentage of homeless Veterans at the homes: Barstow, 13%; Chula Vista, 5%; Lancaster, 34%; Ventura, 12%; West Los Angeles, 23%; and Yountville, 8%.

If you served in the Military and are interested in CalVet Homes, the links below are for you:

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