Today, Veterans Day, is a day our nation has set aside to pay tribute to all who have served our country, those who fought and returned home, and those who sacrificed their lives; for your service we are humbly and immeasurably grateful.
One of the ways we at CCS/CHS recognize those who serve is to help veterans and their families have a place to call home. For some veterans, the transition from military to civilian life is a challenging time. Lack of a supportive network and struggles with mental health or substance abuse disorders may lead to homelessness. Last year in Washington State, 1,607 veterans experienced homelessness. In response, CCS/CHS provides programs such as Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and creative housing solutions including Drexel House I & II, Sebastian Place and Michael’s Place. “The people who serve our country shouldn’t need these programs but I am glad that they exist, that there is this safety net,” said Danielle Scott, CCS program manager for SSVF Pierce County.
In Tacoma, CARES Act funding specifically for Emergency Housing Assistance for SSVF transformed all four levels at the La Quinta Inn to provide shelter for veterans. CCS staff, Sidney Berry, met with veterans to fill the available rooms. Once sheltered, a team of case managers “help veterans with housing vouchers, employment, navigating the healthcare system/disability benefits and provide wrap around services to help them secure and maintain permanent housing,” said Danielle. For both Sidney and Danielle, their passion to help veterans comes from the heart. Sidney grew up in a military family and has family who served in World War I. “What touches me is to be part of something where I can help veterans,” he said. For Danielle, her dad is a veteran and her husband is active duty.
The heart to serve those who served our county extends to the whole SSVF team out of the CCS Family Housing Network in Tacoma. Veteran guests who stayed at the hotel ranged from their twenties to their seventies. For two senior veterans, Mr. Richards and Mr. Gordon, health challenges were one of the biggest barriers to move to stable housing.
Mr. Richards worked with SSVF case management services and healthcare navigation services. He was able to secure a care provider to help manage his health issues and moved into his own apartment in September after experiencing seven months of homelessness.
Mr. Gordon also faced many health challenges. He survived a stroke and amputations to his toes and fingers. Mr. Gordon spent most of his time at the hospital but would come to the hotel for respite. The hotel offered him a chance to heal in his own room. With time and SSVF case management support, he moved into his own apartment in September 2021.
At CCS/CHS, we support veterans like Mr. Richards and Mr. Gordon across Western Washington by providing much-needed rapid re-housing and homeless prevention services to these individuals and their families throughout the year. We partner with community members, governmental services, and other nonprofits to advocate for our veterans population and coordinate the best care possible. May we all celebrate and honor those who have served our country.