Essex County NJ Veterans Housing Academy

CSH, with the support of the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, is pleased to announce the launch of an exciting initiative aimed at improving outcomes for homeless and vulnerable veterans in Essex County by increasing the military cultural competency of providers that serve them. The Veterans Housing and Services Academy will build the capacity of housing and human services providers in Essex County to offer accessible and culturally-competent services to homeless and formerly homeless veterans. The Academy will include eight half-day sessions centered around trainings led by experts on topics such as military cultural competency, issues affecting women in the military, legal issues, employment, families and common mental health issues for veterans. The trainings are targeted at field staff supervisors who work with case managers and veterans on a regular basis. Agencies may select up to two staff members to participate in the training series.

The Essex County Veterans Housing and Services Academy will be the third iteration of this unique training series. CSH held our first Veteran Supportive Housing Academy in New York City 2013 and our second in 2014; these rounds were made possible by support from Capital One. The Academy was developed in response to the recognition that there are gaps between civilian and military cultural knowledge that may decrease accessibility or quality of services provided to homeless and formerly homeless veterans. Both rounds of the Academy had great impact on the quality and range of services available to vulnerable veterans in New York City. Participating organizations implemented a number of programmatic changes in response to the lessons learned, such as changing language to make intake forms more veteran-friendly, implementing peer components of their programs and engaging staff around the importance of learning about veteran-specific issues. CSH is excited to be able to offer the Academy in Essex County, with the support of the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

The Academy will employ a ‘train- the trainer’ approach, equipping staff with best practices, tools and ideas on how to implement lessons learned through changes in organizational policy and service delivery techniques of frontline staff. Academy sessions will include facilitated discussions around ways to implement lessons learned and time for participants to share changes that their organizations have made as a result of the Academy trainings. In addition, CSH will work to help participants learn from each other and explore how to work together to provide more integrated, accessible services for local veterans.

The Kick-off event for the training series will be held June 18, 2015 and the first training session of the series will be held in Newark, New Jersey on June 25. If you are interested in applying, please complete the Veterans Housing and Services Academy Application and MOU and return them electronically to Janis.ikeda@csh.org by 5:00 PM Friday, May 29. If you have any questions, please reach out to Janis Ikeda via the email above or at 212-986-2966 x. 268.

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