The pressures associated with COVID-19 often add volatility to the living situations of Veterans who are currently housed. One such individual recently engaged with us, reporting that his current living situation is escalating and that he’s struggling with his mental health. Local case manager Kathy Kraft worked with the Veteran to identify communities which best fit his housing needs. She discussed the options she knew of in these areas with the Veteran and then enlisted the help of a fellow provider working at the Salvation Army’s local shelter to provide the Veteran with a temporary “landing place” while securing long-term housing. Remarkably, the Veteran moved into long-term housing at a property identified as a good match with his needs one day after arriving at the shelter.
Securing housing is only the first part of this Veteran’s story, however. MACV also assists Veterans to ensure long-term housing stability. In this individual’s case, he lost his job in January and has since survived on subsistence allowance, a temporary benefit offered by the Veteran Benefits Administration. This benefit is set to end in coming months, sparking the need for the client to figure out how to secure income in order to remain stable. After working with the Veteran to determine whether employment or relying on financial assistance is a better avenue for this individual, Kathy is now helping him apply for long-term benefits. This includes coordinating with the local County Veterans Service Officer to explore eligibility for Veteran-targeted programs.
MACV providers frequently partner with County Veteran Services Officers (CVSOs) to benefit from their expertise and knowledge of resources available to the Veteran population in their community. “My CVSOs are all awesome and welcome the chance to work with us,” says Kathy. “They appreciate the constant feedback and communication. It works well out here as for partnerships.” MACV considers itself fortunate to have such strong partnerships both inside and outside Veteran-focused organizations. We cannot fulfill our mission to end Veteran homelessness without this important support.
Here is the statewide summary of the availability of County Veteran Service Offices (CVSO), DAV, Minnesota VA, and other Veteran services across the state of Minnesota, with notes on how Veteran and families can receive services and how to contact each office.
Check out these resources and feel free to share with others:
Minnesota COVID-19 Updates: www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html
US Dept of Veterans Affairs: www.va.gov/
Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN 23): www.visn23.va.gov/
Area VA Medical Centers:
• Fargo VA Health Care System: www.fargo.va.gov/
• Minneapolis VA Health Care System: www.minneapolis.va.gov/
• St. Cloud VA Health Care System: www.stcloud.va.gov/
• Sioux Falls VA Health Care System: www.siouxfalls.va.gov/
VBA Regional Offices: • Fargo: www.benefits.va.gov/fargo/
• Sioux Falls: www.benefits.va.gov/siouxfalls/
• St. Paul: www.benefits.va.gov/stpaul
• Managing Stress and the Threat of COVID-19: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/ep/behavioral/stress_covid19.pdf
• COVID-19 and Healthcare Responder Stress: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/ep/behavioral/responder_covid19.pdf
• Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With COVID-19: https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources/fact-sheet/outbreak_factsheet_1.pdf