partnered with the VA by joining the Community Care Network (CCN) across the western half of our service area including Guam, the Republic of Palau, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan) WestCare’s goal is to expand the CCN to all eastern programs by the end of June Growth and development of Veteran Services in 2022 has allowed us to serve 1,731 Veterans with direct care and deliver outreach to an additional 1,649 Veterans for an impressive total of 15,600 Veterans services provided Thirteen regions, directing 32 programs, from Guam to Iowa and across to Gulf Coast Florida, are making a difference in the lives of Veterans and their families by Uplifting the Human Spirit.
Program expansion has taken off in VETcare's area of operations (AO) of Salem, Oregon Sergeant Major Ray Powers (U S Army, retired) has grown their mission from transitional housing to now include a Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP), a SSG Fox Suicide Prevention Grant, and Housing Case Management – Critical Time Intervention (CTI) Yet, they are not stopping there VETcare recently applied for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) funding from the VA Our spotlight this issue shines bright on team Oregon, where mission meets success The Salem AO has a strong group of professionals who are setting out to support local Veterans any way possible Outstanding work, VETcare!
Meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters that have served is the operational directive our Veteran services professionals work under every day - always continuing to uplift and honor each Veteran’s patriotism and love of country God Bless!
2 SPOTLIGHT: FY23 INCREASE FOR THE VA'S HOMELESS PREVENTION PROGRAMS
3 THE NEED: VA'S NEW EMERGENCY CARE POLICY
SOLUTION: WESTCARE'S SSG FOX GRANT SUCCESS IN KENTUCKY
4 KUDOS: LOCATIONS APPLYING FOR GPD & SSVF GRANTS FOR THE FIRST TIME
I S S U E 4 , V O L U M E 1 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3
Craig J. Knierim, USAF, Col (ret) Senior Vice President - Veteran Services westcare.com
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Last September, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the first cohort of Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention (SSG Fox) grantees WestCare Kentucky is one of the inaugural awardees and launched their SSG Fox program on Jan 1 The dynamic SSG Fox team - led by Kentucky’s Regional Vice President, Dr Tiffany Slone, includes Tonia Fugate, Counselor; Candie Blankenship, Case Manager; Amanda Arredondo, Outreach Specialist, Veteran, Ranea Burke, Peer Support Specialist; and mentor, Anna Wakeland
On the first weekend of program activation, the team found themselves in the hills of Eastern Appalachia seeking out a Veteran who had served post-9/11 and suffered a debilitating leg injury. He was estranged from his family, had recently lost his mother, and was unsure of his next move. He willingly admitted to
For Decreasing Veteran Suicide
making mistakes and had the desire to change his life, yet was unaware of available community resources and how to gain access to them. His lack of knowledge is why SSG Fox grants are implementing a public health approach of putting boots on the ground to help
You can imagine the team’s surprise when he responded that his number one need was food How can anyone heal and put the pieces of their puzzle back together if they are hungry? When the team returned almost immediately with a ham, canned fruit, and bags of dried beans, their Veteran came outside with tears in his eyes He had believed they were there instead for lip service and empty promises
What he said as the team left serves as a reminder of WestCare’s vision of Uplifting the Human Spirit.
For the first time in many years, I have hope. Most people never follow through. Thank you. This is the best gift I could have been given.
Since that first encounter, the team has helped him obtain food stamp benefits, he’s working on getting his driver’s license back, and he’s now receiving the VA care he needs. And this is just one story. In less than two months, WestCare Kentucky’s SSG Fox team has impacted 300 individual Veterans through outreach and is working directly with 11 – proof positive that WestCare truly is ready to meet the challenge of making a difference and decreasing Veteran suicide
THE NEED Emergency Care Policy
As of Jan 17, 2023, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will pay for inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days for almost all Veterans –regardless of whether they are enrolled in the VA’s health care system This move implements part of the VA's Veterans Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment
Act of 2020 (COMPACT) which was signed into law in December of 2020 This policy allows the VA to provide, pay for, or reimburse the treatment of a Veteran’s emergency suicide care, transportation costs, and follow-up care. The care can be provided at either a VA facility or in the community Eligible Veterans include those who served more than 24 months and left the military with any discharge other than dishonorable Veterans who experienced a physical assault, battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment while serving are also eligible
It is estimated that the new emergency care for Veterans policy will help up to nine million Veterans To add hope, when the VA released its 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report in September, it showed that Veteran suicides decreased in 2020 for the second year in a row and that fewer Veterans died by suicide in 2020 than in any year since 2006.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES ON VA POLICIES THAT ARE REMOVING BARRIERS TO TREATMENT.
First time applications for WestCare Oregon's VETcare
In expectation of new and increased funding in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a few grant opportunities last Fall The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program awards supportive services grants to private non-profit organizations like WestCare to assist very low-income Veteran families residing in or transitioning to permanent housing As a grantee, WestCare Oregon’s VETcare will provide a range of supportive services to eligible Veteran families that are designed to promote housing stability The FY23 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) closed on February 7th and for the first time, VETcare has applied
According to Ray Powers, Program Director of VETcare, 2023 has started off strong for Oregon and the team is hoping to expand even more “Our goal is to offer a diverse and accessible spectrum of housing, health, and employment resources to underserved Veterans in Salem ”
Another critical funding source for community agencies like WestCare who are providing services to Veterans experiencing homelessness like WestCare is the VA's Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program The purpose of the transitional housing component of the program is to promote the development and provision of supportive housing and services with the goal of helping Veterans who are experiencing homelessness achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels and/or income, and obtain greater self-determination. The GPD Program also offers case management grants to support housing retention for Veterans who were previously homeless and are transitioning into permanent housing. In FY23, VETcare has applied to renew their 2018 grant and continue serving Salem’s Veterans who are residing in transitional housing.
WestCare lifts up our tireless local leaders like Ray and his team who work each and every day to better the lives of the courageous men and women who have selflessly served in the US military while also providing various forms of support to their families that have stood by them
Connect with WestCare Foundation to follow our journey across 17 states, 4 U.S. territories, and 2 republics.
Uplifting the Human Spirit WestCare @westcare @westcarefoundation westcare.com