Northeast Veterans Awareness Center Details Veterans Onsite Transition Program
When Rachel Hagen of the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center receives a phone call, a veteran is usually in need of essential help.
“COVID-19 has certainly increased the number of calls I get, but the need for housing assistance in the veteran population has been in this area for years,” she said.
According to Hagen, however, VNOC provides much more than just housing assistance. “There is a common misconception that VNOC is a homeless shelter,” she said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
In his program, Transition in Place – or TIP for short, veterans must assume the lease of their apartment within six to 12 months. Admission to the program is selective. She explains, “The ideal candidate has a solid foundation of skills and supports and some form of income that will propel them to the next level of independent living.
Noting that the goal in many cases is for veterans to “literally transit” there, Hagen said TIP can also help some establish permanent housing.
“We recently helped a veteran create a transition and travel plan that culminated in her buying a home in Texas where she can be closer to her family,” she explained. “This case was a classic example of how all of our departments can have a pretty incredible outcome.”
Tangible program results, Hagen noted, are made possible through carefully crafted individual service plans. These plans focus on housing, employment, education, mental/medical health, addictions (if applicable) and social/community supports.
“I provide emotional support, empathy, encouragement, structure, and hold veterans accountable when needed,” she said. “Along the way, veterans are encouraged to use the TIP office to complete VA paperwork, print, email/letter, and receive assistance in completing applications and researching potential opportunities.”
Regardless of veteran and/or circumstance, Hagen said TIP’s service delivery model is guided within “a very clear framework.”
“Every ISP has objectives, goals, tasks to accomplish, and observable changes defined for measurability,” she said. “We strive to increase and improve current skill sets and support the development of additional skills needed to achieve financial sustainability and independent living…Helping a veteran find housing is just the ‘tip’ of the proverbial iceberg. »
Founded in 1985, VNOC provides basic food and shelter, housing, advocacy, counseling, peer support, case management, employment, and education to veterans and their families in Essex, Middlesex and Barnstable counties in Massachusetts and Rockingham county in New Hampshire. There is more information on vneoc.org.