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Harbor Homes works to keep homeless vets safe

By MATHEW PLAMONDON - Staff Writer | Nov 20, 2018

NASHUA – The city’s homeless population includes an uncertain number of U.S. military veterans, but officials with Harbor Homes Inc. are doing their best to get these heroes back in stable housing situations.

Nashua received its accreditation for ending veteran homelessness through the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness in March 2017, with organizations such as Harbor Homes and the Greater Nashua Continuum of Care working to locate and house veterans through programs such as Supportive Services for Veteran Families.

Just last week, Harbor Homes helped U.S. Army veteran Harold Sherman obtain housing. Prior to this, he had been living inside a tent in the woods at Mine Falls Park for several months.

Despite the work of Harbor Homes and other agencies, there are still veterans who may not know how to obtain help with housing and the other issues that accompany homelessness. In the case that a veteran slips through the cracks, there are resources available to the community to help get them housing.

The Harbor Homes Nashua facilities – Buckingham Place located on 46 Spring Street and Dalianis House 59 Factory Street – conduct walk-in screenings to help veterans access needed services.

“We have eight remote case managers in every county across the state. We also have a housing specialist, community data specialist,” Harbor Homes Program Manager for Supportive Services Mandy Reagan said. “We have a very big infrastructure to help us with this the task of ending veteran homelessness.”

Reagan said through the Veterans First campaign, homeless veterans can work with Supportive Service for Veteran Families (SSVF) in order to find housing and enter programs to help with health care needs, legal support, and substance abuse issues, as well as getting access to permanent housing that fits the needs of those seeking assistance.

The agency’s main goal is to make sure veterans have a place in which they feel safe so they can begin to work on transitioning into the community. That starts with putting a roof over their heads.

“We want to get them into a safe, dry place where they can shower, where they can have their medications, where they have food and clean water,” Reagan said, “and then work with him on the other components.”

Those other components could include getting a job, getting medication and health care, and getting help for substance abuse.

Harbor Homes and SSVF’s policy is to provide Homeless Veterans with these opportunities without discriminating.

“We do not keep housing on a contingency,” Reagan said about the Housing First principle that SSVF runs on. “Anyone who needs housing that is a veteran, we want to work with.”

Reagan said if any member of the community encounters a homeless veteran, they should reach out to Harbor Homes and their partnered programs.

The fastest way to help a homeless veteran is to dial 2-1-1. This is a 24/7 hotline available to all New Hampshire residents. Once a veteran is identified by the hotline, an email will be sent to every veteran provider which has an outreach program and housing capabilities. These providers include Harbor Homes, Easter Seals, Veterans Inc. and Southwestern Community Services.

“Send everyone you can to us who identify as a veteran or anywhere close to it,” Reagan said, reaching out to the community.

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