All the Way Home™
...offering innovative responses to the growing homeless veterans crisis.
“Today’s returning veterans are falling into homelessness in ever greater numbers,” says June Koegel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Volunteers of America Northern New England. “Our innovative All the Way Home™ program is uniquely poised to help deal effectively and compassionately with this growing crisis.”
Studies show that modern warfare is more stressful than ever. Today’s men and women in uniform are more likely to serve longer and more repeat tours of duty. They are more likely to survive more severe combat wounds, which can lead to lifelong disabilities. And they’re more likely to serve in frustrating battlefield situations with elusive enemies, multiplying their chances for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological ailments.
“Returning veterans are finding it harder than ever to re-establish their lives,” adds Julia Wilcock, Vice President for New Business Development for Volunteers of America Northern New England. “They’re at greater risk for a mix of multiple difficulties with family relations, employment, social supports, mental illness, substance abuse, and other life skills — at a time of turmoil in the economy.”
Service women in particular, Julia says, enter the military with higher rates of previous trauma exposure, face the same likelihood of combat trauma when deployed, and are believed to be at significant risk for cumulative trauma, occupational exposure, and related mental and physical health ailments.
“What this means,” says Julia, “is that significant numbers of men and women who served this country with courage and honor and risked everything to preserve our freedom are becoming — in their own country — homeless.”
On any given night, 700,000 American men, women, and children are homeless in America, the richest nation on earth. Remarkably, one in four of these is a veteran.
Julia adds, “We estimate that in Maine alone, nearly a thousand veterans — our sons and daughters — are living in shelters, under bridges, in encampments, or in cars. And these numbers are growing. After all that they’ve done for us, they deserve better!”
Here in Northern New England, Volunteers of America has been on the job for veterans since 2001.
“In the face of this growing crisis,” she says, “our All the Way Home™ programs are offering a wide range of proven services to help veterans overcome physical and mental traumas and reestablish their lives in the community. We’re committed to ending homelessness for the men and women of our region who served their country.”
All the Way Home™ integrates case management, housing, and transition services to help homeless veterans in major life areas — employment, mental health, substance abuse, life skills training, and more — as they rebuild their lives and come “all the way home” into everyday society.
Julia explains that Volunteers of America is already a recognized leader in veterans’ services. The organization’s programs are integrated, meaning they offer interrelated services to give clients custom-tailored help in a wide range of areas in their lives. They are based on best practices and proven to work. And they are cost-effective.
“Best of all we serve veterans across many programs,” she emphasizes. “Our broad-based experience in other client areas makes us uniquely qualified for the role. These days, a homeless veteran could very well have been diagnosed with and be suffering from mental illness, became incarcerated or a senior citizen, or have at-risk children — or any combination of these. This means that our longstanding, successful programs for these client groups — people with mental illness, former offenders, senior citizens, at-risk children, and homeless teens — can be of genuine value to veterans, too.”
“When it comes to homeless veterans, Volunteers of America has one of the country’s great stories to tell,” concludes June. “By bringing renewed focus to our All the Way Home™ programs for veterans in this time of their growing need, we can provide the opportunity to spotlight their story and create a forum for community-wide solutions.”
Want to help America’s heroes? Your gift can provide basic amenities like towels, kitchenware, personal hygiene products, and books; help subsidize a kitchen to prepare warm meals; help create system-wide support; and give someone not just shelter but a home — often the first step to helping him or her find a pathway forward.
Please contact us today at 207-373-1140. Change a veteran’s life — and change the world!