Homes for All Veterans Program: On the Road to Stable Housing
Ciara Brown was on the edge of making it. After being out of work for two months, she found a job. She moved to Colorado to get her life back on track but didn’t have the resources to secure a place to live.
That’s where Homes for All Veterans (HAV), a program of Rocky Mountain Human Services, stepped in. HAV was able to give Ciara, a U.S. Army veteran, the boost she needed to get temporary shelter at a hotel immediately, and eventually secure long-term housing.
“I am so grateful for the help I received when I got here,” Ciara said.” I prayed for a sign and things just aligned.”
Like millions of Americans, 26-year-old veteran Ciara was navigating a difficult stretch in her life after losing her job in April. When she got a job offer, Ciara moved from Texas to Colorado.
However, she didn’t have a place to live and little in the way of resources. She reached out for help from HAV, a program that assists veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in finding permanent housing.
Her case manager, Scott, was able to place Ciara in a hotel in Glenwood Springs the very next day, where she stayed until she could find permanent housing.
Ciara and many other veterans whose livelihoods had changed as a result of COVID-19, have been able to quickly receive service and support from HAV. Without that support Ciara would have been homeless even though she had a job.
Homes for All Veterans is funded by the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant awarded to Rocky Mountain Human Services by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. The SSVF grant is founded on the belief that no Veteran should be forced to live on the streets and every Veteran has a right to safe, permanent housing.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, HAV has been housing hundreds of veterans across Colorado in local hotels and motels.
The VA awarded HAV a $4.2 million grant, and an additional $4.4 million in CARES Act funding to help at-risk veterans and family members through June of 2022. HAV had also been awarded an additional $2 million in CARES Act funding in March 2020 to assist with veterans at high risk of COVID-19.
In an effort to save lives, the VA has added this opportunity especially for veterans at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 so they are not living in congregate shelters or uninhabitable outdoor locations where the risks of contracting COVID could be higher.
“The funds will help us provide more than just housing but case management to get the veterans long term stability,” said Alison Gerbig, HAV program manager.
With these fund HAV has been able to house more than 360 veterans statewide in emergency housing and provide supportive services for them. The hotels and motels are short-term housing solutions while HAV continues to work on placing homeless veterans and their families into permanent housing solutions.
As housing for homeless communities has emerged as a more urgent problem, the funds will help prepare these communities for advanced solutions.
Luckily for Ciara she was able to find a home in a month. She moved in Aug. 6, a day after her birthday.
Scott was able to get Ciara assistance in paying the security deposit and first month’s rent. He was even able to get her a new bed since she had to throw her old one out when she stayed in the motel.
Ciara now has a stable job, housing and plans to explore Colorado when she has more time.
To learn more about our HAV program visit, www.rmhumanserives.org/hav.