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US VA creates one-stop shop on homelessness

Wed, May 29, 2013

Chicago gained a “one-stop shop” for homeless veterans’ services when the Jesse Brown U.S. Veterans Administration Medical Center relocated its outreach program to 2750 W. Roosevelt Road in February.

Besides safe and secure transitional housing, the Jesse Brown Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) offers comprehensive services such as health care, employment, benefits and education. Veterans can access vocational rehabilitation, mental health and HUD-VASH housing vouchers there.

Established in January 1994, Jesse Brown’s homeless veterans program has grown from a staff of two to approximately 60. Last year, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center place about 500 formerly homeless veterans and their families into permanent housing, amid encounters with 1,034 different people.

Nationally, the VA had 44,472 homeless program clients in FY10. Nearly half (47.8 percent) were Caucasian; 42.3 percent were African American; 6.6 percent were Hispanic and 3.3 percent were “other.” Their average age was 51 and they were predominantly single males who served in Vietnam or later. They had been living outdoors or in a shelter and had issues with medical and mental health, and often substance abuse. Women comprised 5.5 percent of this homeless population but the VA termed it the fastest growing segment.

- Suzanne Hanney from prepared materials


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