Taylor Southall and I (both AmeriCorps Summer VISTA volunteers with NCH’s VISTA Project) planned and organized an event last week called No Wrong Door. The idea was to get local organizations that serve the homeless together in order to teach them about the options available for homeless veterans, with the hope that if a homeless veteran ever shows up at their organization they would know exactly how to help.
We got in contact with the Veterans Administration and they sent representatives from the Veterans Health Administration, and the Veterans Benefit Administration. We also invited an attorney who has a practical and in-depth knowledge of accessing benefits and healthcare.
The event was held at the VA’s newly opened Community Resource and Referral Center, which is like a one-stop-shop for veterans seeking help.
More than 25 people show up the event, and we had a wait-list of over 50 people who wanted to come to the next training event. It was very interesting to learn about the different services provided by the VA, and great to see service providers connecting the dots to understand how to access VA benefits, and how they could be more effective when working with a veteran.
Throughout the summer Taylor and I have been working hard to make sure service providers in the DC area know what resources are available for veterans. We have met in person with many of the homeless service organizations and have developed a Homeless Veteran Resource Card that will be delivered to any organization where homeless veterans might go to for assistance. The Card has everything veterans can use in the DC area to access assistance, such as legal assistance, housing, and mental health services. This is the first card of its kind and we know it’s going to have a big impact on homeless veterans. We are glad we can help people who fought for our homes find a place to call home.
Taylor and I are also glad that No Wrong Door was a successful event, and that we were able to be a part of organizing the event. We’re confident that the Resource Card will continue to help local organizations find the resources veterans need to get off the streets and that future No Wrong Door events will continue to build relationships between service agencies and VA Offices that will help more effectively provide for the veteran community.
NCH Summer VISTA Volunteer