Some VA programs are providing much-needed help for Veterans living in rural New Mexico communities. These efforts include the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program, the Department of Housing and Urban Development/VA Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) program, and the Veteran Justice Outreach (VJO) program, said David Sena, Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program Coordinator with the New Mexico VA Health Care System (NMVAHCS).
• Through the GPD program based in Albuquerque and Gallup, community-based agencies provide transitional housing and services for homeless Veterans, including men, women, and women with children. The program is designed to help homeless Veterans achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels or income, and obtain greater self-determination. Sharon Manuelito, VA GPD Liaison assists a significant number of Native American Veterans in achieving their goals through traditional cultural methods and VA treatment programs before transitioning to permanent housing.
• The HUD-VASH program provides vouchers for permanent housing and ongoing case management for homeless Veterans who require these supports to live on their own. Vouchers for this type of housing are available in Bernalillo, McKinley and Santa Fe counties. Tristan Keller, HUD-VASH Social Worker, provides case management and low-income housing services to the high concentration of Native American Veterans in McKinley County.
• The Veteran Justice Outreach program involves outreach, assessment, and case management for justice-involved Veterans in local courts and jails. Begun in November of 2011 in Bernalillo County and just this past January in Northwestern New Mexico, the goal of VJO is to prevent incarceration and ensure that eligible justice-involved Veterans have timely access to VHA mental health and substance abuse services when indicated and appropriate. Three NMVAHCS social workers assist the Veterans with the VJO program. Jennifer Broomfield and Camila Lopez help get Veterans involved in the VJO program across most New Mexico counties. One of the primary goals of Linda Shannon’s VJO work includes outreach to Native American Veterans in McKinley and San Juan counties, in addition to those in La Plata County, just over the Colorado border.”
For more information on these rural outreach programs, please contact the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Programs office at (505) 256-2784. The National Homeless Veteran Hotline Number can also be utilized by calling 1-877-424-3838.