It’s cold outside; help available for veterans in need

Easterseals Military & Veterans Services (ESNH MVS) is part of a network of service providers who are on alert and addressing the needs of homeless veterans during the cold winter months, and seeking to end veteran homelessness all year round. In this past fiscal year alone, ESNH MVS provided emergency assistance and Care Coordination to help prevent homelessness for 166 veteran households.

ESNH MVS offers care coordination to veterans of all eras – from World War II veterans to those who are currently serving. Services are free, confidential, and provided locally – in the veteran’s home or other convenient location. Care coordinators are community caseworkers with extensive training in military culture. Their job is to do whatever it takes to help service members, veterans and their families thrive. Care coordinators help those in crisis situations, and are also available to help families plan ahead and avoid problems when facing life changes and challenges.

As a snapshot of ESNH MVS over the past year, care coordination services were provided to nearly 1500 individuals, including military family members, in FY16. Approximately 65 percent of the veterans and families ESNH MVS helped were those who served during the Vietnam War, Korean War and WWII. The two most prevalent reasons that veterans reached out (or were referred) to ESNH MVS were financial/money management concerns and housing concerns.

A large part of the care coordination role is to get service members, veterans, and military family members (SMVF) connected to veteran-specific and community resources. In FY16, ESNH MVS care coordinators made over 4500 linkages, referring and connecting SMVF to VA, state and community treatment, benefits, programs and resources. The outcomes speak for themselves: 90 SMVF were connected to mental health care for previously untreated problems. 157 SMVF got jobs while working with an ESNH MVS care coordinator. And, in 16 instances, SMVF received suicide intervention services from ESNH MVS care coordinators.

How can you help? If you are or you know of a veteran out in the cold and in need of emergency shelter, call 2-1-1 for coordinated access. They will help identify any open shelter space in the state. Easterseals, along with other New Hampshire agencies, is notified immediately of homeless veterans who call. Liberty House, a veterans-only shelter in Manchester, not only provides housing for homeless veterans, but also provides food and clothing to veterans in need. Donations are always welcomed! Winter coats and boots are desperately needed right now! To find out more, call 669-0761.

Please consider also donating to Veterans Count. Veterans Count emergency financial assistance was used 605 times in FY16! Veterans Count, the philanthropic program of ESNH MVS, provides emergency financial assistance to veterans for critical and unmet needs. Veterans Count raises awareness about the challenges that can result from military service and raises money to help address these needs. To learn more or to make a donation, please visit vetscount.org/NH. If you know a service member, veteran, or military family in need, please contact Chrystn Pitt, Easter Seals NH Military & Veterans Services, at 315-4354.

Written by Stephanie Higgs, Easterseals Military & Veterans Services