Helping America's Most Vulnerable

BOOTS ON THE GROUND’ CAMPAIGN TO END VETERAN HOMELESSNESS

For immediate release
Contact: Jordan Kellerman
September 25, 2015 720.264.3333
jkellerman@voacolorado.org

Volunteers of America and Metro Denver Homeless Initiative launch 100-Day ‘Boots on the Ground’ campaign to End Veteran Homelessness


DENVER — Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 —Today Volunteers of America and the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative announced a 100day ‘Boots on the Ground’ campaign to connect Veterans experiencing homelessness in the Denver Metro and Boulder areas with housing and support services.

From October 1924, Boots on the Ground will bring together Volunteers of America Staff, trained outreach workers, and volunteers from community groups, civic organizations, and companies to generate accurate, comprehensive, and reliable data critical in matching individuals and families experiencing homelessness with the appropriate housing and service interventions.

The survey will help service providers identify areas of greatest need while directing individuals to attend the VA Stand Down resource fair and the Project Homeless Connect event in Denver to be held in November.


“The brave men and women who have served our nation have already earned our respect. In building a system than can identify, assess, and prioritize homeless Veterans, MDHI and VOA are piloting a system with the potential to revolutionize the way we serve our most vulnerable and brining Colorado one step closer to ending Veteran homelessness,” said Governor John Hickenlooper.

The Federal Government, under the leadership of First Lady Michelle Obama, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has provided housing vouchers and rental assistance resources with the goal of ending Veteran homelessness by 2015. 

One of the greatest barriers to this objective is the limited ability of service providers to conduct the widespread outreach needed to identify homeless Veterans and connect them with local, state, and federal services. 

The 100-day campaign will address this obstacle the week of October 19- 24,2015 by sending small teams to comb the streets of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties in an effort to survey every Veteran experiencing homelessness. 

Part of local efforts to build what is know as ‘coordinated assessment system’, the infrastructure and best practices developed through the 100-Day sprint campaign will play a key role in creating a real time and data-driven process that facilitates housing referrals. 

“Administering a common assessment tool and triaging amongst service providers to determine the appropriate housing intervention is not only a best practice in ending Veteran homelessness, this campaign will create an accurate by name list of veterans that communities can rally behind,” said Gary Sanford, Executive Director of the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative.


“This year’s coordinated efforts will be focused on Veterans with the goal being that partners can build on the success of this initiative and subsequent years can be focused on other target populations, specifically chronically homeless individuals, youth and families.” 

Key to these efforts is the recently opened Volunteers of America Bill Daniels Veteran Services Center which provides a central location for Veterans and their families to identify and access Veteran services, including housing, employment, legal services, education, mental health, VA benefits, public benefits, volunteering, peer support and financial literacy. 

“This is about finding those hardest to reach Veterans who may never seek out assistance or know about the services they have rights to as Veterans. We will have people out on the streets, meeting homeless Veterans where they are, and offering them a hand up,” said Brenton Hutson, a United States Marine Corps Veteran and Volunteers of America’s Director of Veteran Services.


Last year Volunteers of America Colorado’s Back Home program assisted over 600 Veteran families in finding housing or maintaining housing. In addition to the Back Home program, Volunteers of America offers an array of Veteran resources at the Bill Daniels Veteran Services Center at 1247 Santa Fe Drive in Denver. 

“At Volunteers of America, we have been passionately working to walk beside homeless Veterans to secure the housing and resources they need to get back on their feet,” Hutson said. 

Throughout the campaign, staff and volunteers will be passing out information on resources for assistance, distributing socks and hygiene items, and collecting necessary information for service providers to engage with individuals in a meaningful way. Those interested in becoming an outreach team member for the Boots on the Ground Campaign can visit www.voacolorado.org/EndVeteranHomelessness or call 7203699944.


ABOUT VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA
Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faithbased organization dedicated to helping those in need live healthy, safe and productive lives. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including the frail elderly, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, homeless individuals, women in need, and veterans and their families. For more information about Volunteers of America, visit www.voacolorado.org


ABOUT METRO DENVER HOMELESS INITIATIVES
The Metro Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI) is an independently funded, nonprofit organization whose mission includes the prevention and ending of homelessness in the seven county, Metro Denver Region by facilitating, integrating and tracking cooperative, communitywide and regional systems of care for people who have become homeless, but seek to live in a stable home and maximize selfsufficiency. For more information, visit mdhi.org


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