On May 16, CSH held the first session of the CSH Supportive Housing Veteran Academy at a Capital One Bank branch in downtown Brooklyn. Eleven supportive housing provider agencies were represented, in addition to CSH staff and Capital One associate volunteers, and participated in the training providing an overview of military culture. This session is the first in an eight series training program funded by Capital One to provide training to civilian supportive housing providers in New York to meet the housing and service needs of veterans.
The current Federal administration has made a commitment to ending veteran homelessness by 2015. In order to do this, community providers must work together with veteran’s service agencies to provide care for all veterans. While many providers are eager to serve veterans, many expressed concern that they did not have adequate training to serve this population most effectively. As Kristin Miller, director of the CSH New York office, said, “We saw that providers were ready and willing to go, but they wanted the tools to best work with this population. We realized that you can’t just put up a sign that says ‘this agency serves veterans’ without increased understanding of what it means to be a veteran. With support from Capital One, we are able to develop a program and assist providers to increase their military cultural competency and enhance their service delivery for this unique population.”
“At Capital One, we recognize the need for quality, affordable housing in our communities, and understand the importance of ensuring civilian supportive housing providers have the information, insights and resources they need to support our veterans,” said Mariadele Priest, Vice President, Community Development Banking . “After serving our country, our service members are returning home and looking for ways to reintegrate into our local community. We’re proud to support our veterans during this important transition and are committed to doing our part.”
Research has shown that veterans are disproportionately represented in homeless populations and, once homeless, tend to be homeless for longer periods of time than civilians. The CSH Supportive Housing Veterans Academy consists of eight sessions that each focus on different topics, such as an introduction to military culture; women in the military; legal issues facing veterans; PSTD, TBI and others. Each of the eleven agencies participating has made a commitment to incorporate lessons learned in the academy to their program models and to train other staff members.