Expansion Is Part of Increased Funding from Veterans Affairs
The Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) Homes for All Veterans program is opening up an office in Grand Junction and Greely, adding staff covering Northern Colorado and the Western Slope, thanks to increased funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Homes for All Veterans program annually serves more than 1,000 veterans and their families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Staff offer outreach, case management and support designed to promote housing stability and end homelessness. Overall, nearly 70% of veterans in the program are stably housed within six months. In 2018, the program helped 545 veterans transition to permanent housing.
The program currently has offices in Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. With the addition of staff in Northern Colorado, Homes for All Veterans will help even more families receive the services and resources they need to stay off the streets.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of homeless veterans in outlying cities, and that has not been a huge issue in the past, so there aren’t many services available in those areas,” James said. “There’s veterans desperately needing help and we will work along with other organizations already providing services to our veterans.”
The increased funding comes at a critical time. According to the 2019 Point in Time Count, the counties with the largest share of people experiencing homelessness were
Larimer County (22%), which is home to Fort Collins; Mesa County (16%), which is home to Grand Junction, and Pueblo County (15%), where Homes for All Veterans already has an office. Overall, the count found that out of all those experiencing homelessness in Colorado, one in 10 are veterans.
The Homes for All Veterans program’s greatest strength is its ability to collaborate with the communities where it operates. In Colorado Springs, the program participates in the Community Advisory Council on Veteran Homelessness (CACVH) to help end veteran homelessness throughout El Paso County. The Grand Junction office is housed in the Western Region One Source building, where staff can work with multiple veteran-specific agencies to pool resources. Examples of resources available through the program’s collaborations in the community include:
Emergency shelter and transitional housing
Health care services
Emergency financial and food needs
Mental health and substance use disorder treatment
Legal and financial planning services
One of the greatest challenges is connecting with veterans who may benefit from Homes for All Veterans. The program’s outreach staff conduct counts every week, identifying veterans experiencing homelessness by name, attempting to connect them to resources and helping them become stably housed.