“As long as there are veterans or veteran family members
Senator Barack Obama, 2007
The Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program provides outreach services to inform homeless veterans about resources that may be available to them. The outreach worker completes an assessment with each veteran and uses this information to deter-mine what services may be appropriate for the veteran.
Such services include linkage with medical, dental, and mental health care, referrals for employment opportunities, help to obtain clothing and bus tokens, referrals for residential substance abuse treatment and transitional or long-term housing and linkage or referrals to various other VA and community resources.
All homeless veterans or veterans who are at risk for homelessness can be assessed by the outreach workers, although not all veterans will be appropriate or eligible for every service or resource.
Public Law 100-77, signed into law on July 22, 1987, known as the “McKinney Act,” identifies a homeless person as one who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; and who has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter, a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or a public or private place not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
In addition to the complex set of factors affecting all homeless individuals—extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income, and limited access to health care—a large number of displaced and at risk veterans live with lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and possible mental health issues compounded with substance abuse and a lack of family and social support networks.
In general, most organizations use the VA eligibility criteria to deter-mine which veterans can access services.
Eligibility for VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonor-able conditions. Benefits vary ac-cording to type and length of military service.
Enrollment is located at:
George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
500 Foothill Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84148
Go to the main entrance (bldg 14) and proceed toward the emergency room there you will see a sign indicating the enrollment.
The most effective programs for homeless and at-risk veterans are community-based, nonprofit, “veteran helping veteran” groups.
Programs that work best feature transitional housing with the camaraderie of living in structured, substance-free environments with fellow veterans who are succeeding at improving themselves. The most successful programs include individualized case management support, employment training and job placement services.
There are approximately 300 community-based veteran organizations across the country that have demonstrated impressive success serving homeless veterans. These groups are most successful when they work in collaboration with federal, state and local government agencies, other homeless providers and veteran service organizations.
Veterans Homeless Program
Jennifer Eaves, CSW
VA Healthcare System
(801) 746-5561 ext. 6319
Other Helpful Resources
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans
Suicide Hotline for Vets
Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Regional Office