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West Palm Beach VA Medical Center

 

Homeless Veterans

The Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program is a group of Veterans Affairs (VA) homeless services. These efforts include a number of specialized programs.  The core program involves:

  • Outreach to Veterans living on the streets and in shelters who do not seek assistance on their own  
  • Evaluation, treatment, and referral for physical and psychiatric disorders, including substance abuse  
  • Assistance with housing, case management, and rehabilitation  
  • Referral to employment assistance: National HCHV Webpage

Program Descriptions

The West Palm Beach VA Medical Center Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program has been around since 2000.  The program consists of the Homeless Veteran Outreach Team, the Veterans' Resource Center, the Grant and Per Diem Program, VA Homeless Contract Program, Incarcerated Veterans Re-Entry Program and HUD/VASH.  Several programs are in development and this information will be updated as more services are offered.

  • The Homeless Outreach Team includes a Social Worker and Physician Assistant who spend about 75% of their time working in the community.  The mission is to contact homeless Veterans and provide treatment services. The goal is to return the Veteran to their highest level of functioning.  This is done in a community setting. The team looks for homeless Veterans in soup kitchens, halfway houses, treatment facilities, street corners, woods, and wherever the homeless might be found.
  • The Veterans' Resource Center is a separate building on the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center property.  It is a drop-in center for homeless Veterans. There are a variety of services available: supportive social services, shower and laundry facilities, clothes closet, and food pantry. 
  • The Grant and Per Diem (G&PD) Program was created to pay community agencies to provide services to homeless Veterans. The services will include supportive housing and/or supportive services. The goal is to help homeless Veterans find housing, improve their level of functioning, and obtain greater independence.
  • VA Homeless Contract Program programs provide housing, food, transportation, laundry facilities, and therapeutic services for homeless Veterans.  The VA pays a per diem rate for each Veteran.  Case management is provided to Veterans while they are saving their earnings for their eventual return to independent housing. In general, Veterans are expected to become gainfully employed within 1-3 months of entering the program.
  • Veterans Re-Entry Program outreaches to eligible incarcerated Veterans who are within six months of release from state and federal correctional facilities to provide education about available VA and community services in support of smooth transitions from institution the community.
  • HUD/VASH is an intensive case management program. The primary intent of the program is to reduce homelessness among Veteran populations by offering community-based services that emphasize the maintenance of stable housing.
  • Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) provides eligible, justice-involved Veterans with timely access to VA’s mental health and substance use services when clinically indicated, and other VA services and benefits as appropriate.

Annual Events

The West Palm Beach VA HCHV Program hosts two major annual events:

  • Project CHALENG (Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups) is a program to improve VA and community communication. The idea behind Project CHALENG is to encourage cooperation and communication between the VA and community.  Annual meetings are hosted by the West Palm Beach HCHV for VA staff and community agencies that provide homeless services.
  • Stand Down events are one to three day events providing services to homeless Veterans.  Services can include food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to other services.  These other services include housing, employment and substance abuse treatment.  Stand Downs are planned by local VA Medical Centers, and include other government and community agencies that serve the homeless.
    • Contact: Karen Collins, LCSW (561) 422-8223

Contact Information for Program Staff

Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program (Building 16)
West Palm Beach VAMC/122
7305 North Military Trail
West Palm Beach FL 33410
Phone: 561-422-8223
Fax: 561-422- 6856

Hours of Operation:
Homeless Programs, M-F, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
HUDVASH Program, M-F, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Compensated Work Therapy Program, M-F, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Veterans Resource Center, M-F, 7:30 am - 3:00 pm

 

 Position  Name  Phone Number
 Veterans Resource Center Social Worker  James Wilson, MSW   (561) 422-8262 ext. 6870
 HCHV Contract Social Worker   Sara Donovan, LCSW  (561) 248-5707
 Veterans Resource Center Social Worker  Allison (McKensie) Elling, MSW  (561) 422-8262 ext.2058
 GPD Program Liaison   Melanie Swencki, LCSW  (561) 596-8578
 HUD/VASH Program Supervisor  Carolyn Price-Valenti, LCSW  (561) 422-8262 ext. 6084
 Healthcare Re-Entry Specialist  Meredith Powers-Lupo, LCSW  (561) 273-3724
 VJO Specialist - 15th Circuit  Mason Youell, LCSW  (561) 422-8262 ext. 7101
 VJO Specialist - 19th Circuit  Jana Shiffert, LCSW  (561) 422-8262 ext. 2046

  

VA Programs Header

VA’s specialized programs for homeless Veterans serve hundreds of thousands of homeless and at-risk Veterans each year. Independently and in collaboration with federal and community partners, VA programs provide Veterans with housing solutions, employment opportunities, health care, justice- and reentry-related services and more. Learn more about these programs below and at VA’s Programs for At-Risk Veterans and Their Families page.

Housing

Picture of Woman

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)

This collaborative program between HUD and VA combines HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services to help Veterans who are homeless and their families find and sustain permanent housing.

How It Works

Through public housing authorities, HUD provides rental assistance vouchers for privately owned housing to Veterans who are eligible for VA health care services and are experiencing homelessness. VA case managers may connect these Veterans with support services such as health care, mental health treatment and substance use counseling to help them in their recovery process and with their ability to maintain housing in the community. Among VA homeless continuum of care programs, HUD-VASH enrolls the largest number and largest percentage of Veterans who have experienced long-term or repeated homelessness. As of Sept. 30, 2015, HUD had allocated more than 78,000 vouchers to help house Veterans across the country.

More Information

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)

For very low-income Veterans, SSVF provides case management and supportive services to prevent the imminent loss of a Veteran’s home or identify a new, more suitable housing situation for the individual and his or her family; or to rapidly re-house Veterans and their families who are homeless and might remain homeless without this assistance.

How It Works

Through referrals and direct outreach, nonprofit agencies and community cooperatives use SSVF funding to quickly house Veterans and their families who are homeless and keep others from slipping into homelessness by providing time-limited supportive services that promote housing stability. Case management includes help securing VA and other benefits such as educational aid and financial planning.

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Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program

State, local and tribal governments and nonprofits receive capital grants and per diem payments to develop and operate transitional housing and/or service centers for Veterans who are homeless.

How It Works

VA funds an estimated 600 agencies that provide over 14,500 beds for eligible Veterans. Grantees work closely with an assigned liaison from the local VAMC. The VA GPD liaison monitors the services the grantees offer to Veterans and provides direct assistance to them. Grantees also collaborate with community-based organizations to connect Veterans with employment, housing and additional social services to promote housing stability. The maximum stay in this housing is up to 24 months, with the goal of moving Veterans into permanent housing.

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Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV) Program

This program encompasses residential care for sheltered and unsheltered Veterans with multiple challenges, illnesses or rehabilitative care needs. DCHV provides a structured setting to foster Veterans’ independence and mutual support.

How It Works

Either on VAMC grounds or in the community, participating Veterans receive interdisciplinary clinical care that includes medical, psychiatric, vocational, educational or social services. There are more than 2,400 beds available through 47 sites.

More Information

Employment

Employment seminar

Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services (HVCES)

Under this program, each VA Medical Center (VAMC) has received funding to hire new vocational development specialists who are serving as Community Employment Coordinators (CECs) to boost employment outcomes for Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

How It Works

CECs work out of each VAMC to forge partnerships and create relationships with local community organizations and employers who have the ability to hire Veterans. CECs work with and pre-screen Veterans who offer a variety of skills and come from all education levels, and are backed by VA’s entire network of services and providers. Employers can also proactively reach out to their local CEC by visiting the CEC contact information page.

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Compensated Work Therapy (CWT)

CWT is comprised of the transitional work and supported employment program, which assists homeless Veterans in returning to competitive employment.

How It Works

Veterans in CWT are paid at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is the higher.

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Health Care

The Philadelphia H-PACT staff

– Health Care Through H-PACTs. The Philadelphia H-PACT staff, from left to right: Keith Ferrell, George Tzanis, Lamont Jones, Kate O’Hara, Leah Jones, Donzella McLaughlin and Lynette McDaniels.

Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV)

This program offers outreach, case management and residential treatment services to help Veterans transition from living on the street or in institutions to stable housing situations.

How It Works

Operating out of many VAMCs nationwide, clinically trained providers locate Veterans who are living in precarious situations and connect them with VA bridge housing, health care and case management services that promote safe, stable living arrangements.

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Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams (H-PACTs) Program

Located on the campuses of VA medical centers (VAMCs), community-based outpatient clinics and Community Resource and Referral Centers, H-PACT clinics provide a coordinated “medical home” tailored to the needs of homeless Veterans. They integrate clinical care, social services, enhanced access and community coordination.

How They Work

H-PACTS co-locate medical staff, social workers, mental health and substance use counselors, nurses and homeless program staff. This team provides Veterans with comprehensive, individualized care, including services that lead to permanent housing. Veterans can walk in to H-PACT clinics without an appointment and receive medical care, case management services, housing placement supports, substance use and mental health treatment, community referrals, triage services, benefits counseling and even hot showers and clean clothes. H-PACT has expanded to 60 VAMCs nationally and is currently actively serving almost 19,000 Veterans. It is estimated that over 25,000 Veterans were served by an H-PACT during 2015. H-PACTs are showing promise in improving health and other outcomes among participating Veterans compared with non-H-PACT patients.

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Homeless Veterans Dental Program

This other important resource provides Veterans who are homeless with dental treatment through programs such as Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation Treatment, VA Grant and Per Diem, Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence, Health Care for Homeless Veterans (contract bed) and Community Residential Care. VA is working to expand dental care to all eligible Veterans.

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Justice- and Reentry-Related Services

Incarceration Assistance

Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) and Health Care for Reentry Veterans (HCRV) Programs

VJO aims to prevent homelessness by helping justice-involved Veterans who have mental health or substance use issues access needed VA clinical services. HCRV specialists work with Veterans to ease their transition from prison back into the community.

How the Programs Work

VJO specialists provide direct outreach, assessment and case management for Veterans in local courts and jails and help them navigate the justice system. Every VAMC has at least one VJO specialist. HCRV specialists meet with incarcerated Veterans before they’re released and assist them in planning for reintegration into the community by accessing VA and community services as well as housing and employment opportunities.

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Other Resources

Community Resource and Referral Centers (CRRCs)

CRRCs provide Veterans who are homeless and at risk of homelessness with one-stop access to community-based, multiagency services to promote permanent housing, health and mental health care, career development and access to VA and non-VA benefits.

For a list CRRCs across the country, click here.

VA Vet Centers

These community-based outlets provide a broad range of counseling, outreach and referral services to combat Veterans and their families. Vet Centers guide Veterans and their families through many of the major adjustments in lifestyle that often occur after a Veteran returns from combat. Services may include individual and group counseling in areas such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), alcohol and drug assessment and suicide prevention referrals. All services are free and strictly confidential. Call 1-877-WAR-VETS (1.877.927.8387) to learn more.

Contact

Healthcare for Homeless Veterans
561-422-8223

877-4AID-VET

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