What is SSVF?
The Supportive Services for Veterans and Families Program (SSVF) at Catholic Charities Kansas City- Saint Joseph exists to prevent homelessness in our local Veteran community. Out of the thousands of Missourians who have served our country, more than 500 are currently experiencing homelessness. Thousands more are struggling to obtain life’s basic necessities – food on the table, current utility bills and rent payments, a working vehicle, and adequate employment.
Catholic Charities partners with the Veterans Administration (and other programs) to provide rapid re-housing for Veteran families – and is the only organization in our northern service area counties to do so. It’s a success – 100% of Veterans who complete this program, maintained housing six months later!
However, there are hundreds of Veterans and their families seeking assistance who do not qualify under this grant. They need other services to lift them out of poverty and into stability:
- Rent and utility assistance
- Personal hygiene items
- Transportation assistance
- Assistance affording medications
- Resume and job search services
Our service to veterans in need is funded nationally through the SSVF grant and locally through individual donations. The team assigned to this program includes specialists who are veterans themselves. The needs of our Veterans are not just heard, but felt by members of our team. Having lived it themselves, they know the physical, emotional, and financial toll unique to Veterans.
We understand the barriers veterans can face and we want to assist: whether it is housing, healthcare, rent assistance, food insecuritiy or other life needs. In FY ’21, we helped 102 Veteran families through our SSVF Outreach program; 212 Veteran families through our SSVF Housing program, and 24 Veteran families through our AmeriCorps program. We offer life necessities like toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving products, feminine products, soap, lotion, hand sanitizer, etc., and ensure every Veteran has a bag with those items in it when they come through our program. A Health Care Navigator assists in navigating the VA system to set appointments, enroll in services, understand benefits, and secure necessary medical care.
The stories of Veterans who come to CCKCSJ for help are poignant – especially given their service to our country. This spring, we are sharing the story of one of those Veterans. George came to us when he was on the verge of eviction. He was grieving the loss of his wife to a terminal illness, and desperate to remain in his apartment with his two dogs. Follow this blog to hear his inspiring story.
His story is all too common: despite the supports of the Veterans Administration, some vets face poverty and homelessness every day. We cannot let them go unaided. Together, we can help overcome the barriers of poverty – we can honor them and restore their lives.Make your gift today.