PASSVF: Taking Point for Military VeteransAugust 15th, 2012
United States military veteran and current Kate's Place resident Stanley Shelton's struggles with homelessness, addiction, and depression and his subsequent recovery provide a perfect case study for the efficacy of vet-centered service organizations.
After losing his wife and son in the space of a few years, Shelton found himself without a home. After suffering a stroke two years ago, he sought services catered specifically to military veterans, eventually finding his way to the Philadelphia Alliance for Supportive Services to Veteran Families (PASSVF), a fledgling collaborative composed of several area organizations, including Project H.O.M.E.
Nearly a year later, Shelton is happilly ensconced in permanent housing and the PASSVF is celebrating the renewal of its $1 million Veteran's Affairs Department grant funding and, based on exemplary outcomes and best practices, a prestigious new role as mentor organization to new SSVF grantee programs.
The PASSVF collaborative – which consists of the Philadelphia Multi-Service & Education Center, Impact Services Corporation, The Homeless Advocacy Project, the Council for Relationships, and Project H.O.M.E. – is charged with creating a seamless, coordinated plan to address homeless prevention or rapidly re-house veteran families in transition from homelessness.
"PASSVF is an important piece of the puzzle of ending veteran homelessness in Philadelphia," said Niki Paul, PASSVF Program Coordinator. She noted that veteran homelessness is an issue that has continued to gain increasing attention nationally, citing the Department of Veterans Affairs and its recent five-year plan to end veteran homelessness as evidence of the issue's importance, and how local and regional partnerships like the PASSVF can effect positive change. The program is funded with a grant from the VA's SSVF Program.
"This program contributes a unique service by helping those veterans and their families who currently struggle to maintain their housing or, even worse, have recently lost their home," Paul continued. "With effective supportive services, the PASSVF staff work together with program participants to provide critical services than can help a veteran family stay housed and prevent the trauma of homelessness. And for those veteran families who are currently homeless, our program staff work quickly to help those veteran families move back into a stable and safe home as soon as possible."
The support services PASSVF provides run the gamut: Case management services help participants find and obtain affordable housing, assist with job training or acquiring benefits, and connect to health care; the Homeless Advocacy Project provides participants with legal assistance; credit repair and credit counseling is provided; participants have access to educational groups; and, finally, temporary financial assistance is available to those who need short-term help paying rent or covering fees associated with moving.
The PASSVF's first year was a rousing success as it either met or exceeded most of the original goal outcomes outlined in the grant, leading to the aforementioned grant renewal and mentoring role, all of which has put a smile on Niki Paul's face. "We are just so honored and thrilled to be a part of this forward-thinking initiative with the VA and we're really looking forward to meeting the folks from other SSVF providers assisting veterans throughout the country."
Also, hear more about the importance of the PASSVF from veteran Jose Torres at our YouTube channel.