‘Housing-First’ model enables local veteran to flourish

Justin SSVF

America is privileged to field the best-trained military force in the world. However, some veterans find their skills don’t immediately transfer to a civilian job market. Others face severe challenges adjusting to civilian life, and many are coping with the debilitating effects of injuries and disabilities as a consequence of multiple deployments in combat zones.

As a result, many veterans fall into post-battlefield trauma, unemployment, homelessness, and substance abuse. Interfaith’s veterans department has one simple purpose: To return our nation’s heroes to the honor and dignity of a healthy, stable, and productive life.

After six years in the Army, including a yearlong deployment in Iraq, Justin returned home to Pennsylvania and enlisted in the Marine Corps.  It was with the Marines that he eventually moved out to San Diego and was stationed at Camp Pendleton.  Upon returning home from six months in Japan with the Marines, Justin decided to honorably discharge from the military.

“I came home to my daughter saying ‘Daddy, please don’t go back,’ and what could I do?” said Justin.  “At the end of the day, I just wanted to stay in San Diego for my daughter and make it work.”

After settling back into civilian life in Oceanside, Justin tried to juggle going back to school at Mira Costa College to earn his degree in law enforcement with finding a part-time job.  However, when he couldn’t get hired, Justin quickly found himself behind on bills and with an eviction notice for his apartment.  While researching non-profits and veterans organizations in San Diego, Justin came across Interfaith.

“I saw the website, called, and came in for an appointment two days later,” said Justin. “This place has just helped me so much. Interfaith has given me everything I needed.”

After being set up with a case manager, Justin was moved into one of Interfaith’s veterans apartments, in addition to provided with gas cards to fill up his car, clothing vouchers and was even sent, at no cost to him, to receive his security guard card.  Today, Justin works full-time as a security guard and as of two weeks ago, has graduated from his program and has moved into his own apartment in Vista that he’s decorated thanks to a furniture voucher from Interfaith.

“It took me longer than I thought it would, but I’m in a good place now thanks to Interfaith,” said Justin.  “It’s just so great to have your own place again.  Now, I can have my daughter come stay with me.”

Interfaith Community Services is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit social services agency. For information on how you can contribute to the organization with either monetary gifts, in-kind donations, or through volunteer work, please contact Interfaith’s Chief Development Officer, Robert Adams, at radams@interfaithservices.org or by calling (760) 489-6380 ext. 206.

 


Breaking News: Interfaith is opening the first year-round shelter in North County!

For those sleeping on the streets, a warm bed, nutritious meal and access to a shower is a gift.

Interfaith’s Haven House Emergency Shelter provides these basic necessities, along with comprehensive case management25 Cities San Diego and support, to homeless community members.  57% of individuals who stayed at the shelter last winter went on to secure safe and affordable housing.

Because of your support of Interfaith and our programs in North County, we want to share a piece of exciting news with you, before this announcement is even made publicly:

The success of our winter emergency shelter has sparked an unparalleled opportunity in North San Diego County: the creation of the region’s first year-round shelter that will meet the needs of homeless residents thoughout the entire year! 

With the ability to house up to 49 homeless men and women each night, the new year-roundHaven House Emergency Shelter will focus on providing services to those who are either already working, or are on-track to gain employment, for whom housing assistance will allow them to achieve self-sufficiency and stabilization.

Scheduled to open December 1st, 2015, financial support for this project is crucial.

$500,000 is needed to renovate the current Haven House shelter and operate it for the first year. An anonymous donor has pledged $250,000, and now we must match that with an additional $250,000 in order to make this life-saving shelter a reality for our homeless neighbors.

Volunteers and donations of in-kind goods will also be important.  We will share more details about that as we draw nearer to opening.  For now, we must raise the funds for the shelter renovations and the wrap-around services that will empower residents to self-sufficiency.  What an opportunity to change lives for the better!

This is about much more than just an emergency shelter, it’s about creating a continuum of care for the poorest and most vulnerable of our community – for those who sleep on our streets and turn to Interfaith for the most basic necessities. With a year-round shelter, we can and will provide better tomorrows for those facings difficult todays.

Will you give to support our new Haven House Emergency Shelter?

To donate, please click here and select “Housing and Shelter” from the drop down menu. We look forward to your support of this first ever North County year-round emergency shelter!


Veteran family moves from homelessness to self-sufficiency

 

Holt CSSAmerica is privileged to field the best-trained military force in the world. However, some veterans find their skills don’t immediately transfer to a civilian job market. Others face severe challenges adjusting to civilian life, and many are coping with the debilitating effects of injuries and disabilities as a consequence of multiple deployments in combat zones.

As a result, many veterans fall into post-battlefield trauma, unemployment, homelessness, and substance abuse. Interfaith’s veterans department has one simple purpose: To return our nation’s heroes to the honor and dignity of a healthy, stable, and productive life.

Grayson, Jhuan and and their four year-old son Alex moved out to San Diego after hearing about the benefits and programs available to veterans through the VA.  While they had always made enough to support their family and live comfortably back in Arkansas, the family was shocked by the high cost of living in Southern California.

“Back at home, when you’re finding a place to live all you needed was the deposit and first month’s rent,” said Grayson.  “But we came here and in order to move in somewhere, we needed two to three times the rent in income.  We couldn’t even apply anywhere, we just didn’t have the money.”

With nowhere to go, the family moved into a hotel for the next month, completely exhausting their savings.  It was then that Jhaun, while researching organizations and resources available to veterans and their families, found Interfaith online.

“I called on a Friday, they asked if we could make it through the weekend, and then brought us in for an appointment the very next Monday,” Jhaun said.  “After that, Interfaith gave us motel vouchers, inspected each of the rooms before we moved in and made sure we had enough room for the three of us.  They worked so hard and eventually found us a home.”

Today, the family is happily settling in to their own apartment in Fallbrook, thanks to the help of Interfaith’s veterans’ department staff.  They received help setting up CalFresh benefits, filling out SSI forms, were told where to find food pantries, and were given furniture vouchers, with which they were able to buy beds and a dining room table.  An Army veteran of 11 years, Grayson is enrolled in a certificate program for digital film and media and is even in the process of getting a canine companion dog to help with his PTSD.

“Everything we’ve ever needed, even the small stuff, they’ve helped with all of it,” said Grayson.  “We never knew a place like Interfaith even existed.”

Interfaith Community Services is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit social services agency. For information on how you can contribute to the organization with either monetary gifts, in-kind donations, or through volunteer work, please contact Interfaith’s Chief Development Officer, Robert Adams, at radams@interfaithservices.org or by calling (760) 489-6380 ext. 206.


Offering Hope in Housing Fundraising Event: September 5th & 6th

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All Congregations Together: October 10th & 11th

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