Housing Program

Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing – FVRTC provides supportive services to low-income Veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing.

  • Finding employment (the challenge most often identified by veterans)
  • Dealing with a loss of purpose and isolation after leaving the military
  • Navigating the complex and confusing network of benefits, services and support that is available to veterans 
  • Having long waits to obtain disability and other benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) as a result of significant backlogs in processing claims
  • Getting ready access to health care, including behavioral health services
  • Coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or major depression that are prevalent among veterans who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Accessing and having success with postsecondary education
  • Dealing with housing and financial instability that could ultimately lead to homelessness for some
  • Accessing resources that uniquely address the needs and challenges of female veterans 
  • Finding support for family members of veterans—spouses, children, siblings—who may be dealing with caretaking and other reintegration issues, including relationship issues with the veteran.
  • Housing and Financial Insecurity

 

Transitional Housing – FVRTC will provide transitional housing for homeless veterans.

 

military coming home IVHousing and financial insecurity are issues that veterans often face when returning to civilian life. Unemployment and under-employment clearly contribute to this challenge. Veterans often wait long periods to receive disability or other benefits may as well. Some veterans may have bad credit, too much debt, can’t afford childcare or health care for their families and/or are unable to pay their child custody payments—all factors that can trigger the downward spiral for anyone living on the edge. As a consequence, when veterans separate from the military—particularly those who have come from low-pay grade military positions—some may not be able to afford the rent or utility deposits to get into housing. Some may be dealing with foreclosure on their homes. Others maybe “couch hopping” with family or friends. The National Center on Homelessness reports that OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) veterans are becoming homeless at a faster rate than veterans from prior calls of duty. Single female veterans and veteran families are the fastest growing cohorts of the homeless veteran population.

Housing support options are limited for veterans. Currently the only housing assistance available to veterans from the VA is for homeless veterans and severely disabled vets. The VA’s Supportive Housing Program (VASH) provides housing subsidies and case management support for homeless vets, yet the number of VASH vouchers is limited. VASH vouchers have been allocated for use in Orange County, and nearly 500 local veterans are on the interest list for requesting a voucher—some meeting the program eligibility requirements, and others who may not. The VA’s Per Diem and Contract Housing Programs also have limited capacity. A veteran must be chronically homeless and/or in need of significant case management support for addiction or other significant issue to be eligible for these programs. 

Female veterans are the fastest growing segment of the veteran population. Nearly 20% of all OEF/OIF veterans in Central Florida are women. Although technically excluded from serving in direct combat roles in the military, many women who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been attached or assigned to combat units, thus were in the line of direct enemy fire. Female veterans share many of the same reintegration issues as their male counterparts. However, they face other challenges as well:

  • Many female veterans are suffering from military sexual trauma (MST) in addition to PTSD. The prevalence of MST among female veterans ranges from 20 to 48% based on both VA data and the research literature. A majority of military women – 80% – also report being sexually harassed. Most female troops don’t report sexual abuse while in the military; it’s often revealed after they have separated and in a safe environment. 
  • The healthcare needs of women are different from men. Until recently, the VA was not well prepared to provide women-centered healthcare to female veterans, thus female veterans did not view the VA as an effective option for getting many of their healthcare needs met. More recently, however, the VA has begun providing distinct healthcare services to female veterans. Consequently, more OEF/OIF female veterans are now turning to the VA for their healthcare needs. Acknowledging that more must be done, the VA continues to expand its services for female veterans. 
  • Female veterans have also identified the lack of respect and recognition for their military service, especially their combat experience, as their primary transition challenge. They report that they commonly do not receive the acknowledgement given to their male peers and often feel invisible.
  • Many of the service organizations and support groups for veterans are male oriented and do not provide a safe space for female veterans to let down their guard and deal with their unique experiences as female veterans. Without support from those who can relate to their military experience, female veterans can become isolated as they re-enter civilian life. 
  • Unemployment among female veterans, particularly young African Americans, is higher than that of male veterans. In addition, female veterans—often single parents and the primary breadwinners in families—tend to make less than male veterans. As a result of their limited income and other factors, female veterans are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population across the country.  

The local homeless service agencies and shelters are seeing an increase in the number of female veterans, with and without children, but these agencies are not trained to respond to the unique needs of female veterans.

The VA is working to address the disparities in services and unique needs of female veterans. In late 2011, it announced plans to establish a VA task force, in partnership with the DOD, on women veterans and develop a plan that will focus on the key issues female veterans face.

Unfortunately, resources available to families of veterans are limited. Recently the VA established a family caretaker program to provide limited financial assistance (hourly wages) and other support to a wife, mother or other family member taking care of an injured veteran. Other than this newly developing program and some minor benefits, the VA is not positioned to provide support for families. And although veteran families may have access to family, children, legal and other services available to the general population in Central Florida, these services are typically not sensitized to or have the capacity to address the unique issues and dynamics that families of veterans may be experiencing. The lack of services and support for veterans’ families is a significant void in the Central Florida community.

 

Permanent Supportive Housing – The FVRTC housing programs will provide permanent housing to eligible homeless veterans. The goal is to house 15 to 20 families a year in single family homes.

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Female veterans are the fastest growing segment of the veteran population. Nearly 20% of all OEF/OIF veterans in Central Florida are women. Although technically excluded from serving in direct combat roles in the military, many women who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been attached or assigned to combat units, thus were in the line of direct enemy fire. Female veterans share many of the same reintegration issues as their male counterparts. However, they face other challenges as well:

  • Many female veterans are suffering from military sexual trauma (MST) in addition to PTSD. The prevalence of MST among female veterans ranges from 20 to 48% based on both VA data and the research literature. A majority of military women – 80% – also report being sexually harassed. Most female troops don’t report sexual abuse while in the military; it’s often revealed after they have separated and in a safe environment. 
  • The healthcare needs of women are different from men. Until recently, the VA was not well prepared to provide women-centered healthcare to female veterans, thus female veterans did not view the VA as an effective option for getting many of their healthcare needs met. More recently, however, the VA has begun providing distinct healthcare services to female veterans. Consequently, more OEF/OIF female veterans are now turning to the VA for their healthcare needs. Acknowledging that more must be done, the VA continues to expand its services for female veterans. 
  • Female veterans have also identified the lack of respect and recognition for their military service, especially their combat experience, as their primary transition challenge. They report that they commonly do not receive the acknowledgement given to their male peers and often feel invisible.
  • Many of the service organizations and support groups for veterans are male oriented and do not provide a safe space for female veterans to let down their guard and deal with their unique experiences as female veterans. Without support from those who can relate to their military experience, female veterans can become isolated as they re-enter civilian life. 
  • Unemployment among female veterans, particularly young African Americans, is higher than that of male veterans. In addition, female veterans—often single parents and the primary breadwinners in families—tend to make less than male veterans. As a result of their limited income and other factors, female veterans are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population across the country.  

The local homeless service agencies and shelters are seeing an increase in the number of female veterans, with and without children, but these agencies are not trained to respond to the unique needs of female veterans.

The VA is working to address the disparities in services and unique needs of female veterans. In late 2011, it announced plans to establish a VA task force, in partnership with the DOD, on women veterans and develop a plan that will focus on the key issues female veterans face.

Unfortunately, resources available to families of veterans are limited. Recently the VA established a family caretaker program to provide limited financial assistance (hourly wages) and other support to a wife, mother or other family member taking care of an injured veteran. Other than this newly developing program and some minor benefits, the VA is not positioned to provide support for families. And although veteran families may have access to family, children, legal and other services available to the general population in Central Florida, these services are typically not sensitized to or have the capacity to address the unique issues and dynamics that families of veterans may be experiencing. The lack of services and support for veterans’s families is a significant void in the Central Florida community