Parsippany, NJ – Community Hope was awarded a renewal grant of nearly $1 million to sustain and expand its one-year old Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program. The SSVF Program has helped more than 80 veteran families to avert homelessness and rapidly be re-housed since the program was launched on Veterans Day 2011. Community Hope expects to assist more than 100 veteran families in the year ahead.
With the renewal grant awarded this week by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Community Hope is expanding the program into Middlesex and Union Counties
and will continue to serve families in Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex
and Warren counties.
“We are committed to the expansion of this successful model and the promise it holds for helping our most at-risk veteran families,” explains Community Hope CEO J. Michael Armstrong. “In these tough economic times, our veteran families can face particularly difficult challenges, especially those who have been recently deployed and return to try to find jobs in this economy or struggle with the trauma of combat while trying to maintain their family responsibilities.” He said his agency has served more than 650 homeless veterans and veteran families in the past seven years.
Armstrong cites a family reunited by the SSVF Program. A veteran returning from deployment in Afghanistan was unable to secure a job with sufficient wages to house his family. While he worked as a security guard, his wife and two young children were forced to live out-of-state with family members and the veteran slept on a friend’s couch. Community Hope staff helped the veteran locate affordable housing and through the grant, provided the family with financial assistance to secure the apartment and set up utilities. Staff also linked the family to affordable child care so the veteran’s wife could seek employment.
Community Hope and its partners provide a range of financial assistance and supportive services designed to help veterans avoid foreclosure, eviction and to rapidly re-house homeless veteran families. Financial assistance can include help with back rent or utility payments for families struggling to remain in their homes. For veteran families who have lost their housing, SSVF will provide financial aid with rental and utility security deposits and initial rental payments.
Support services can range from assistance with transportation; child care; linkage to medical care, behavioral healthcare and recovery services for veterans experiencing PTSD and other effects of combat; and other services to help the veterans and their family re-establish financial stability and self-sufficiency.
Community Hope has brought together a partnership comprised of Catholic Charities and University Behavioral Healthcare, which operates the New Jersey Veterans Helpline and Vets4Warriors Helpline for veterans and families needing assistance.
In the past ten years, Community Hope has been at the forefront of working in collaboration with the NJ Veterans Affairs Healthcare System to address the issue of homelessness among veterans. In July, Community Hope launched the Veterans Early Transition Services (VETS) Program, a 12-bed housing program in Newark where the nonprofit’s staff provide 24-hour support to homeless veterans. Six years earlier, the organization opened the Hope for Veterans® Transitional Housing Program in 2004 as the largest program in New Jersey and the Tri-State metropolitan area to serve homeless veterans. With 95 beds, Hope for Veterans® has helped more than 600 veterans overcome homelessness in the past seven years.
Community Hope and its private developer partner, Peabody Properties, will soon break ground on construction of 63 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless and disabled veterans on a vacant tract of land at the Department of Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System campus at Lyons, NJ.
Community Hope has been helping individuals recover from mental illness and substance abuse in specialized residential programs since 1985. Today, the nonprofit organization provides housing and support services to more than 300 individuals a day.
Veteran families in need of assistance through Community Hope’s SSVF Program should call the following hotline number for veterans and their families at 1-855-4VET-HOME (1-855-483-8466)