According to the Michigan Coalition on Homelessness, as of 3rd Quarter, 2013 there are a total of 1891 homeless or about to be homeless veterans, 200 of which are female. These numbers come from those who sought help, indicated they are a veteran, and were reported to the Michigan Coalition on Homelessness. Because of those indicator’s, we estimate that the numbers are much higher. Studies show that in 2011 – US Government Accountability Office reported, “More than 60 percent surveyed Grant Per Diem (GPD) programs serving homeless women veterans did not house children, and most programs that did had restrictions on ages and numbers of children. GPD providers cited lack of housing for women and children as a significant barrier for women and children. Limited housing for women and their children puts these families at risk of remaining homeless.” Also, a recent report from the VA Inspector General (IG) examining veteran housing that receive VA grants found “bedrooms and bathrooms without locks, poorly lit hallways and women housed in facilities approved for men only. Nearly a third of the 26 facilities reviewed didn’t have adequate safety precautions. One woman veteran and her 18 month old son were placed in the same facility as a male veteran who was a registered sex offender.” And according to a study in 2009 on Veteran Homelessness by HUD and the VA: “Women veterans are more likely to be homeless than their male counterparts.” The National Women Veterans Association of America indicates that “According to a recent survey by the Department of Veteran Affairs, half of the women currently registered with their agency, state that they are victims of sexual assault and/or sexual harassment.”
Many of the causes of this problem include; returning veterans and those separated from the military within the past 5 years often find themselves with lack of resources or knowledge of resources that might be available to them, lack of future and financial planning skills or abilities, high unemployment rate in Genesee County, MI due to the General Motors pull out in the mid 1980’s (more than 80,000 jobs have been lost due to this and the aftermath of businesses that closed down or moved out of state have left the local economy in shambles). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Flint's unemployment rate rests as 16.0 percent. Flint's lack of work doesn't bode well for the local economy. More than 38% of people there live below the poverty level, according to the most recent Census numbers. Poverty and crime are known to go hand in hand.”
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates “Mental and substance abuse disorders are prevalent among female veterans. The presence of both disorders is connected to other negative outcomes such as justice involvement, homelessness, family disruption including violence, and unemployment. In community studies, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) alone and co-occurring with substance abuse is more common in women. This might be due to the type and frequency of trauma that community women are exposed to and its impact on developing PTSD.” Because of this women veterans are more often “diagnosed with depression, physical illness, lower compliance with treatment, and poorer social outcomes.” The Administration also states that, “Women veterans with co-occurring disorders are at high risk for homelessness among other negative life outcomes. Women veterans are as much as four times more likely to be homeless than non-veterans. There are more services that target male veterans than women veterans who are homeless. Both veterans and providers report that the VA meets the medical and substance abuse treatment needs for homeless veterans but falls short in meeting the demands that are high priorities among women veterans such as child and legal assistance for child support. Among other unmet needs is legal assistance for warrants and fine, long term permanent housing, and family reconciliation assistance. As women continue to make up a larger portion of veterans, they will also comprise a larger portion of homeless veterans, many of whom have complicated treatment needs.”
Our Home Transitional provides transitional housing for homeless female veterans along with transitioning services provided by partnering community organizations, such as; mental and physical healthcare, job training and placement, educational placement and funding, counseling, and empowerment and skill building opportunities. Along with these, we offer the comfort of camaraderie, security and a sense of belonging that focuses on each client’s own needs to help them transition successfully from our services and move on to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.
As a result of the transitional housing program provided by Our Home Transitional, 25-30 homeless single female veterans (HSFV) are provided 1 year of temporary housing in a ten bedroom house, along with activities and classes in employment readiness training, financial planning skill sets, and mental and physical healthcare services through community provider collaborations. These activities will allow the client to learn coping and navigation skills in basic household and community tasks. While the classes will help clients with personal management skills and enable self-advocacy and adequate knowledge of community resources, which in turn will empower the client to become self-sufficient, leading to permanent housing, sustainable employment and an over-all better quality of life.
Our goal is to empower our clients with confidence and the ability to self-advocate, through positive mentoring and life skills training, in a safe and secure environment. This will assist them with moving into permanent housing after one year of entering the program. Included in the housing program will be a client action management plan and monthly case management reports. This will ensure that the program is meeting the needs of the client and that the mission of the program is successful. Our Home Transitional wants to ensure that clients maintain sustainable employment and permanent housing— achieving our goals through our dedication, loyalty and obedience to our mission, vision, and value statements.
Our Home Transitional is dedicated to reducing the number of homeless female veterans in Genesee County and surrounding areas. In an effort to reduce homelessness among female veterans, $313,250.00 ($100,000 of which is a one-time first year cost) is being requested to provide transitional housing and access to supportive services to 25 -30 homeless single female veterans by the end of December 2015. Our Home Transitional prides itself on delivering a unique family style environment to honor female veterans who have served this country. In fulfilling our mission to provide transitional housing and support services to empower homeless single female veterans, Our Home Transitional will procure a three story ten bedroom home to house program participants. This spacious facility will provide 30 beds and offer a sense of security and stability to our clients. In addition, a full size 15 passenger van will be purchased to transport clients to partnering support services agencies and to assist with carrying out day to day tasks. Program staff which includes the Executive Director, an onsite Residential Assistant and a volunteer Licensed Social Worker will be responsible for the delivery of program services.
After a comprehensive assessment and intake are conducted, clients will receive an individualized action management plan. The action management plan will identify needs and barriers and establish goals and objectives in becoming self-sufficient and obtaining permanent housing. Clients are encouraged to contact the local Veterans Service Office and the Federal Department of Health and Human Services to ensure clients are receiving entitlement benefits. The action management plan specifies a 6 month length of stay at Our House Transitional. Additional time may be granted on the condition that the client is following the action management plan. Client may be required to pay rent in the amount of 30% of their adjusted monthly income and assist in household chores. Our House Transitional coordinates the following support services, mental and physical healthcare, job training and placement, educational training, home placement assistance, financial management, life skills classes, gardening, and nutrition. These support services are utilized through our community partnerships.
Our community partners assist us in improving the quality of life of homeless female veterans. Our Home Transitional has collaborated with the following agencies to provide a broad range of services in an effort to support those who have served this country. Veterans Administration, Genesee Health System, VetBiz Central, The Genesee County Landbank, Single Veteran Mother Assistance Program, Workforce Development, Learn Key Veterans Division, VetQuest, Cars4Vets, National Education Alliance Michigan Works Talent Bank and Goodwill Industries. Our Home Transitional believes in building effective connections and utilizing industry best practices to deliver services as a means to eliminating homelessness and improving the quality of life for single female veterans.
A survey will be conducted and performed to show the progress of the clients of Our Home Transitional. Weekly session will be held between the clients and the program director to ensure that the outlined goals and objectives of the clients are being met. Goals and objectives are developed at the admission of the clients and will access the programs that will need to be pursued by those in transition. The survey will be conducted and performed by the client to identify any concerns, progress, and to outline productivity. The survey will consist of 25 self-addressed questions and will be complied into data and stored within a data system along with the client’s personnel records.
A second survey will be conducted by those who have completed the transition program and have moved into stable housing. A face-to-face survey will be conducted that will gather information and data on the success rate of those who received services. The data gather will be complied into a data system for reporting and referencing for future support of the organization.
Continue to build partnership with community support organization
Fee for Services: $195,000 will be generated (30% of 25 client incomes, once home is at full capacity) to support operations costs of organization.
Continue to work with the University of Michigan Business department for mentorship and planning.
Flint & Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce- participate in functions and projects.
Acquire resources to support organization.
Our Home Transitional has held many fundraisers to support operational costs $6,000 raised.
Ran many online donation campaigns to raise funds for startup. $2,000 raised
Has begun to construct and develop a donor database to acquire fund from supporters and individuals.
Has developed an extensive marketing campaign to increase awareness and support.
Has partnered with many national veterans organizations to acknowledge the many needs of veterans.