Operation: No “HERO” Left Behind!


(Data courtesy of the NVHC.org)

“Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 57,849 veterans are homeless on any given night.  Approximately 12,700 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) were homeless in 2010. The number of young homeless veterans is increasing, but only constitutes 8.8% of the overall homeless veteran population.”

Exploring the Cause of Veterans Homelessness:
“In addition to the complex set of factors influencing all homelessness – extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care – a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks. Additionally, military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment.  A top priority for homeless veterans is secure, safe, clean housing that offers a supportive environment free of drugs and alcohol.”

2014-09-01 00_19_47-homeless8 - Windows Photo ViewerBROADER DEFINITIONS AND STATISTICS:
(Data Courtesy of National Coalition of the Homeless)

” A recent study conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that 12 of the 23 cities surveyed had to turn people in need of shelter away due to a lack of capacity. Ten of the cities found an increase in households with children seeking access to shelters and transitional housing while six cities cited increases in the numbers of individuals seeking these resources (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2007).  On an average night in the 23 cities surveyed, 94 percent of people living on the streets were single adults, 4 percent were part of families and 2 percent were unaccompanied minors.  Seventy percent of those in emergency shelters were single adults, 29 percent were part of families and 1 percent were unaccompanied minors.  Of those in transitional housing, 43 percent were single adults, 56 percent were part of families, and 1 percent were unaccompanied minors.  Those who occupied permanent supportive housing were 60 percent single adults, 39.5 percent were part of families, and .5 percent were unaccompanied minors (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008).”

“The average length of stay in emergency shelter was 69 days for single men, 51 days for single women, and 70 days for families.  For those staying in transitional housing, the average stay for single men was 175 days, 196 days for single women, and 223 days for families.  Permanent supportive housing had the longest average stay, with 556 days for single men, 571 days for single women, and 604 days for women (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008).  The homeless population is estimated to be 42 percent African-American, 39 percent white, 13 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Native American and 2 percent Asian, although it varies widely depending on the part of the country. An average of 26 percent of homeless people are considered mentally ill, while 13 percent of homeless individuals were physically disabled (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008). Nineteen percent of single homeless people are victims of domestic violence while 13 percent are veterans and 2 percent are HIV positive.  Nineteen percent of homeless people are employed (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008).”


2014-09-01 17_26_44-seb - 11 - Windows Photo ViewerThe “Healing with CAARE” model, and its newly launched “Center for Accessible-Affordable Health, Research, and Education” (CAAhRE) provides North Carolina’s socially disadvantaged with quality healthcare services; ranging from preventive screenings and outpatient treatment, to full dentistry services and Post Traumatic Stress counseling for the area’s veterans community.  Additionally, the center conducts evidence-based research to advance industry practices, legislative standards, etc., while also offering clinical training to Duke University Medical Center’s and University of North Carolina Health Center’s residency physicians.  CAAhRE serves as an extension of the organization’s current infrastructure, to not only provide quality access and education to its clients, but to also bolster the organization’s research capabilities and clinical expertise to advance the ways in which healthcare is delivered!  This endeavor has led to an expansion of services, which include:

  1. The Jeanne Hopkins Lucas Education and Wellness Center (which provides free dental clinic, nutrition classes, and case management services);
  2. A Cancer Screening platform offering free pap smears and referrals for free mammograms;
  3. Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment;
  4. HIV Testing, Education and Prevention;
  5. Mental Health Services;
  6. Job Readiness Curriculum(including GED and “Job-Link” programs);
  7. Small Business Training and Entrepreneurial Developmental Services; and
  8. A Pantry Hub to address basic emergency needs for food, clothing, and hygiene supplies.

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