What we do: A report on MHVI programs during 2013

We collaborate and coordinate with the Veterans Administration, Dryhootch, Center for Veterans Issues, Milwaukee County Veterans Service Office, and other agencies serving veterans. Our goal is to fill the gaps, not duplicate what others provide. The services we provide are truly life-changing for the homeless and at-risk veterans we serve.

VETERANS HOME SUPPORT PROGRAM. Our unique home support program, the only one of its kind in Wisconsin, helps formerly homeless veterans begin their new lives once they get a place to live. Most have been in residential treatment programs for PTSD, drug and alcohol abuse or other issues at the VA Hospital, or in transitional housing. Many qualify for rent subsidy programs, but most move into an apartment or room with almost no belongings or resources. Often, they are sleeping on the floor and have no

furniture or even cooking utensils. We supply donated furniture, linens, household and kitchen items, toiletries, and even a housewarming basket of food to help them as they begin to adjust to their new surroundings. It’s all part of the effort to help them get back on their feet, rebuild their lives, regain hope and dignity, and get on the road to greater independence. In 2013 we moved 405 veterans into new living spaces, providing donated, used furniture, food and other items with a value of more than $200,000.  Our new wellness assessment program uses nursing and social work students to follow up with those veterans, and connect veterans with services that improve their health, safety and quality of life.

OUTREACH. As we have done since 2008, we conduct early morning searches of the overnight sleeping spots of the homeless looking for veterans and working to win their trust so they will allow us to help them. We expanded that program in 2013 to visit shelters, meal sites and other places the homeless gather during the day, to reach more veterans in need. We provide snacks, clothing, blankets, toiletries and other necessities. Acting as advocates and guiding them through the system, we have secured benefit claims for more than 100, and have brought many more into the VA system to receive health care and enroll them in other programs. In 2013 we provided 840 bus tickets to veterans so they could get to appointments. Filing claims and staying with the veterans to help them through the process is something we have done from the start.

FOOD PROGRAM. We operate an emergency food pantry to offer short-term help to veterans and their families in crisis, a few days’ food and hygiene supplies to tide them over. That fills a crucial gap for those who need immediate help but cannot access regular food banks or nutrition programs. We also supply food as part of our home support program to veterans and their families moving into new apartments. During 2013 we supplied food to 613 veterans and their families.

We will build on that in 2014. Unfortunately, the demand for all of those services continues to grow. Please help if you can.

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