Metro Region Programs –
Some of the homeless veterans MACV serves are placed into its transitional housing program. The Transitional Housing program is designed to provide housing and appropriate support services to homeless persons to facilitate movement to independent living within 24 months. MACV has two transitional housing programs. The first, known as Building 47, utilizes a facility on the VAHCS campus which has a 13-bed occupancy. The other is the Structured Independent Living (SIL) program. MACV owns nine houses throughout the metro area and one in St. Cloud that accommodate up to 32 individuals. The SIL program combines two key concepts: structure and independence.
The SIL program provides for more than shelter for homeless veterans. It offers a home-like environment and assistance in coordinating other needs to develop a personal plan for total recovery. MACV believes the veteran who adopts a recovery program that addresses the issue that placed them at risk and puts it into action in their daily living will see difficulties resolved or greatly reduced. The SIL program is basically simple; yet following it is not easy because recovery is too often lost amid the pressures of daily living. Without structure, discipline and a supportive environment, the recovering person may become discouraged, confused and revert to past behaviors, and ultimately relapse.
Our outreach efforts bring us to every county across the state – to food shelves, shelters, community centers and clinics providing services to individuals and families. As a result of our outreach, we are connecting with more veterans than ever before and educating community service providers throughout the state in how to best meet the unique needs of homeless and at-risk veterans and their families.
MACV assists homeless veterans and provides supportive services to prevent homelessness (for veterans and their families). Services can include direct payments to assist with rental assistance, transportation, utilities, food/clothing, car repairs and are evaluated on a case by case basis during initial intake process. To be eligible for assistance, clients must be a veteran with 181 days of active duty service. The veteran must be a Minnesota resident (30 days) and homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless and must be motivated to make positive change. To be eligible for housing assistance, the veteran should pay no more than 30% of their income toward monthly housing expenses. Generally, assistance is provided on a one-time basis in which the payment is considered to resolve the current crisis.
MACV provides homeless veterans with jobs assistance and related supportive services. These services have placed hundreds of veterans into gainful employment since 2000. In 2008 alone, 148 veterans were placed into full-time employment with an average hourly wage of $11.65 or more. This represents total earned wages of over $3.6 million. From homelessness to employment, this is the continuum of care MACV provides.
In 2008, we took an additional step with our Pilot Project, Jobs Training and Certifications Assistance. This pilot provided direct training opportunities for 15 veterans with resources that funded training certifications, licenses, apprenticeships and other similar accreditations. We have utilized funding to secure training and consulting that has resulted in employment for some of our homeless or near homeless veterans.
Civil Legal Assistance
Our employment and civil legal assistance programs often work in conjunction. Approximately 15% of the employment placements achieved in 2008 were directly attributable to the identification of and attendance to legal issues that are barriers to employment or housing for the veterans. MACV’s Vetlaw program assesses a client’s civil legal needs and the gravity of them. All program services are tied to legal issues that affect getting or keeping a job and/or housing.
Through the Vetlaw program, MACV is able to provide information and referral to legal resources on several topics such as family law guidelines, expungement procedures, criminal/civil court procedures, unlawful detainer guidelines and more. Legal concerns with the most critical impact on a veteran’s employability are served first. To successfully address a homeless veteran’s legal issues while not duplicating services already available, MACV has established community partnerships with community service organizations and law firms. Vetlaw utilizes new, unique approaches to increase employment and job retention. The program removes barriers impacting stabilized living and employment by directly addressing, and removing, a multitude of legal issues homeless veterans face.