Haven for Hope, the “one-stop-shop” for homeless services in San Antonio, is recognizing its veteran clients for Veterans Day.
On Thursday, Haven hosted a cookout to honor and celebrate its clients who served in the U.S. military. Like many homeless response organizations, Haven has a team dedicated to helping homeless veterans return to a stable life.
Haven offers various services specific to veteran clients, in addition to the emergency housing assistance, case management services, and income and skills development offered to every participant of Haven’s “Transformational Campus.”
In a previous interview with The Dallas Express, Haven’s veteran services program manager, David Maldonado, said the organization’s outreach team engages with people experiencing homelessness and specifically asks them if they are veterans.
Veterans are entitled to VA-associated programs like disability benefits and pensions, and Haven provides on-site VA healthcare for homeless veterans.
Maldonado explained that many homeless veterans suffer from “addiction or mental health issues.”
“In our eyes, we want to square that away and get that addressed before you get housing because if it’s not under control, you’re going to be back here in two months,” he said, adding that many veterans also suffer from PTSD.
Maldonado also said that many veterans who served in Vietnam have unique struggles, having come back from war to a culture that did not accept them or express gratitude for their service.
“A lot of it is the culture. We have a lot of veterans from the Vietnam era who are in their 60s and 70s now, and they came back here after their time in the war to a place that wasn’t grateful,” he said, explaining that the lasting consequence of this was that many Vietnam veterans “almost feel that they’re not entitled to benefits.”
He said such clients often need to be convinced that “they’re just as important” as other veterans and are legally entitled to the same benefits.
Veterans Day was established in the United States to give all Americans an opportunity to thank the veterans in their community for their service to the nation.
Meanwhile, in Dallas, homelessness and vagrancy remain major concerns among city residents, according to recent polling. In San Antonio, Haven for Hope has been credited with a 77% reduction in homelessness through its strategy of offering supportive services on the same 22-acre campus as transitional housing.