February 2 at 9:11am

Interfaith and VANC agreement will create one-stop veterans center in Oceanside

Interfaith Community Services and Veterans Association of North County have agreed to a memorandum of understanding that will bring Interfaith’s coastal veterans services program to the VANC center at 1617 Mission Ave. in Oceanside. The move will take place April 1, 2014.

The 10-year agreement will provide veterans and active-duty military members and their families with a one-stop resource center where they can benefit from the services offered by both organizations.

Under the agreement, VANC is allowing Veterans Assistance of San Diego, a division of Interfaith Community Services, the use of 3,000 square feet of office space in the Mission Avenue facility it leases at no charge from the city of Oceanside. Twelve of interfaith’s veterans services employees will occupy the space after the move is complete.

“(The benefit) is to be centrally located at a place specifically designed for serving veterans. Also, to partner with the well-established Veterans Association of North County group that is already doing good things,” said Dean Dauphinais, Interfaith’s director of veterans services. “Collaboration is a key piece of this. This solidifies our efforts of serving veterans.”

Veterans Assistance of San Diego offers transitional housing for male and female veterans, employment services and access to benefits through various programs and partnerships, said Dauphinais, serving more than 300 people a year in the coastal area.

The Veterans Association of North County is an umbrella group of 37 veterans organizations with roughly 5,000 members, said Chuck Atkinson, president and founder. About 50 people a week inquire about and receive assistance from the agency.

Atkinson sees the partnership as a great asset for veterans, active military members and their families.

“A lot of these people are far from home. They don’t know the area and they don’t have time to search out resources,” he said. “A lot of them get frustrated because they can’t find services. If you’ve got one location where you can get what you need, it makes it easier on everybody.”

Interfaith Community Services provides a wide range of programs to help hungry, homeless, and low-income people in North San Diego County. Programs include food and basic needs, shelters and housing, employment services, family and social services, children and youth programs, senior services, veterans programs, and addiction recovery. Each program is designed to “help people help themselves,” by empowering individuals to regain self-sufficiency.