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August 10, 2012

Spotlight

Veterans Housing Program

(Editor’s note: “SPOTLIGHT” is a continuing series about tenant activities and missions at Fort McCoy.)

What is it?
The Veterans Housing Program at Fort McCoy provides veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless a place to live while also helping them find employment and affordable housing.

The program at Fort McCoy provides phases three and four of the four-part Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Veterans Assistance Program.

Phases one and two of the program provide rehabilitation services to veterans who abuse drugs or alcohol, and medical services to those who have physical or mental illness.

Once stabilized, veterans move on to phase three. Veterans who don’t require rehabilitation or medical services may move to phase three immediately.

The program at Fort McCoy was established in 1994 as a Veterans Assistance Center. It was renamed the Veterans Homeless Program, and about four years ago was given its current name.

All veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for the program. The WDVA confirms military service and eligibility.

The Veterans Housing Program at Fort McCoy can accommodate up to 14 veterans at a time. Veterans can spend anywhere from a few months up to a maximum of two years in the program.

Veterans who enter the program meet with a program staff member immediately to set up an individualized program plan that addresses specific immediate- and long-term needs and goals.

During their time in the program veterans receive assistance in areas such as job searching, resume writing, financial planning, and overall stability.

Job opportunities at Fort McCoy are offered to veterans through the Challenge contractor, which provides custodial services at the installation. The program also can help with job opportunities in the surrounding communities.

During their stay residents must abide by the rules of the program, such as curfews, cleaning duties and saving money. Residents assist in beautifying their building areas and have also planted and maintained a vegetable garden. The discipline and hard work of the program serves to bring back pride, confidence and self-esteem in the veterans.

What have they done?
The program has established partners with federal, state, and local governments, county veterans service offices and representatives from local communities, including veterans service organizations, private charities, community organizations, and local businesses, that has produced an extensive outreach and referral network to assist veterans in achieving their employment, financial, and housing goals.

What do they have planned?
The Veterans Housing Program at Fort McCoy will continue to provide services to veterans in need of housing and employment assistance.

The program currently does not house female residents because the building where residents are housed is an open-bay setup. However, if building resources become available, the program would like to offer assistance to female veterans. Females can be assisted at other Veterans Assistance Centers in Wisconsin.

Why are they important?
The Veterans Housing Program at Fort McCoy helps veterans become success stories. Because of the program veterans are able to find jobs and housing, and reintegrate back into the communities.

Resources:
For more information about the Veterans Housing Program at Fort McCoy, call 608-269-0234. To apply for the program, veterans can call their county veterans service office or the WDVA at 1-800-WIS-VETS (947-8387). More information is also available at the website http://dva.state.wi.us/Ben_homeless.asp.

Anyone who would like to donate to the program can drop off goods at building 642.
High-demand items include larger-sized clothing, socks and undergarments, winter boots and coats, plastic coffee mugs with lids, toiletries, and phone cards.

Homemade baked goods or food items also are always appreciated.

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