By James Madril

By James Madril

Many times, clients can’t help but stay in self-sabotaging habits, unsure of how, when and where to ask for help.

Click here to read the entire January 2020 newsletter

In the two most recent newsletters, we’ve covered the first two steps of the four-part process of serving clients who come through our Veteran Services. To date, we’ve investigated our outreach process, and most recently, the process by which we house our veteran clients. Once we’ve successfully done both, our goal is to help the client become self-sustainable.

For the average person, being self-sustainable is second nature, based on how we were raised, how we learned life lessons, and our ability to access resources in times of crises. But for our veteran clients, many of these self-sustaining practices are not common sense. Oftentimes, ex-military personnel come back from service only to find that after 20 years, the process for applying for jobs, creating resumes, buying a home, and creating a budget are vastly different. Suddenly, these highly trained professionals feel they are lacking the necessary tools to make it in life. They feel frightened, helpless, and alone.

This is where Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph steps in. Once clients are housed, our job is to tackle the barriers keeping them in the cruel cycle of homelessness. Arguably, this step of creating sustainability is the most important.

Our Veteran Services specialists do this in one of three ways:

  • We help them obtain and maintain steady employment
  • We provide the connections with a qualified Veteran Services Officer with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Our Social Security specialist walks them through the lengthy, complicated process of filing paperwork necessary for obtaining Social Security benefits

One of the most important parts to successfully completing our program lies in the individual’s desire to change. Many times, clients can’t help but stay in self-sabotaging habits, unsure of how, when and where to ask for help. By providing intensive case management, clients can identify and overcome the internal barriers preventing them from moving out of poverty.

Thankfully, we have seen the fruits of these efforts over recent years. As veteran programs have evolved to include more of these self-sustaining practices, we’ve seen a 43% decrease in veteran homelessness since 2011, and 2.1% in just the last year. What’s changed? Since 2011, veteran homelessness programs have had to grow and evolve despite the lack of monetary increases.

As time has gone on, those assisting homeless veterans have had to become subject matter experts, tailoring their knowledge and skills to fit the unique needs of military veterans re-entering civilian life. We’ve also seen a change in the overall understanding of the re-entry process, between the individual, the military, and veteran organizations. There is an increasing sense of awareness, knowledge and preparedness that comes with being released back into society and what is needed on every level to ensure the success of military veterans before, during and after service.

While there are numerous organizations who can provide immediate services and housing, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph provides everything needed for our veterans to achieve self-sufficiency. It is why our tagline emphasizes that we both serve the immediate need, and simultaneously lift our clients to the dignity of self-reliance. And if we encounter a barrier outside of our means, we’ve established strong community partnerships and resources to treat the whole person.

In the next installment of our e-newsletter, we will dive deeper to the specific resources offered at Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

For more information on veteran sustainability, contact James at or (816) 659-8315.


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