There an estimated 4500 homeless veterans living in Central Florida, which are part of the estimated 17,000 that live in the State of Florida. This tragedy is the result of untreated mental disorders resulting from war, shaky employment prospects, and a general lack of knowledge of available resources. As stated in our mission statement, we seek to end homelessness among these veterans through a unique and comprehensive approach that is centered on our street outreach program called "Search and Rescue". We currently offer 4 programs to assist us in reaching our goal:
Search and Rescue: Street outreach program that consists of volunteers going into forests, parks, street corners, and other places that homeless veterans congregate in order to provide basic needs such as outdoor gear, food, and clothing, while at the same time educating the veterans about the available resources in the community that can help them get to a better place such as housing, employment, benefits application assistance, etc... with the goal of moving them from the deplorable conditions they exist and return them to the proud citizens they once were.
Stand Down: NVHS has been hosting an annual Stand Down event in Titusville for 5 years, which is a 1 day event that serves upwards of 240 homeless veterans each year and provides them with free hot food, haircuts, showers, free legal service, medical/dental care, and access to employment assistance, benefits assistance, as well as 20+ public and private community organizations that offer services to help our veterans. Beginning in 2012 we were able to provide up to $5,000 per day to 20 organizations in Florida ($100,000 total) that were hosting Stand Down's in their local community through a grant from the Florida Department of Children and Families, and with that we helped make an impact on over 2400 homeless veterans in Florida. We are looking currently for ways to continue that process.
Seasonal Support: Presented as a morale improvement program, but is very beneficial to developing the necessary trust and rapport with the homeless veteran community that allows us to educate them about available services in order to convince them to improve their life. We provide hotel rooms to stranded homeless vets during inclement weather such as cold weather and severe storms, distribute over 500 holiday meals throughout the year, and bring over 60 homeless veterans into hotels for Christmas Eve/Day with presents (field supplies), hot meals, and access to Veteran Service Officers provided throughout their stay.
Homeless Veteran Transitional Housing: Newest program that was built literally from the ground up in 2012/13 through funding received the Department of Children and Families that offers transitional housing capable of assisting up to 16 homeless veterans simultaneously in Brevard County.