Organizers say Parsippany-based Community Hope’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program has helped nearly 40 families to avoid homelessness since being launched last Veterans Day.
The program is funded with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Community Hope expects to assist about 140 veteran families looking for housing in Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties in the program’s first year.
“We recognize that this is a tough time for our veterans and their families, particularly those who have been recently deployed and return to try to find jobs in this economy or struggle with the trauma of combat while trying to maintain their family responsibilities,” said Community Hope CEO J. Michael Armstrong.
According to Armstrong, the agency has served more than 600 homeless veterans since 2005. One of those veterans, he recalled, was reunited with his family thanks to the efforts of Community Hope staffers.
A veteran returning from deployment in Afghanistan was unable to secure a job that paid him enough to be able to find housing for his family, Armstrong said. The vet did find work as a security guard, but his wife and two young children were forced to live out of state with family members. The veteran slept on a friend’s couch.
The staff at Community Hope made the difference for this family, the CEO said. The organization helped the veteran find affordable housing and gave him a grant that provided the money needed to rent an apartment, set up utilities and secure affordable child care so the vet's spouse could look for work.
“Helping to reunite this family was especially rewarding for us,” said Armstrong. “They had been separated for so long and the family had already sacrificed so much during the veteran’s deployment overseas.”
Community Hope and its partners provide a range of financial assistance and supportive services designed to help veterans avoid foreclosure and eviction and to rapidly re-house homeless veteran families. This financial assistance can include help with back rent or utility payments for families struggling to remain in their homes. For veteran families who have lost their housing, financial aid with rental and utility security deposits and initial rental payments are available through the SSVF program.
Support services cover a wide range of services, including:
- assistance with transportation
- child care
- linkage to medical care and recovery services for veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and other effects of combat
- services to help veterans and families re-establish financial stability and self-sufficiency.
To assist veterans, Community Hope works with partners Catholic Charities and University Behavioral Healthcare.
Veteran families in need of assistance through Community Hope’s SSVF Program should call the following hotline number for veterans and their families at 1-855-4VET-HOME.