Veterans

October 18, 2013

Base joins fight against Vet homelessness

Tracy Ellingsen
Beacon stringer

For service members transitioning from the military back to civilian life, readjusting can be a daunting task. Finding somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and civilian healthcare is a new experience for those who are used to the military providing these services.

Unfortunately, every year there are veterans who do not fully reintegrate and end up living on the streets. The problem of veteran homelessness in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has become so severe that quarterly summits have been organized to bring together those interested in ending the epidemic.

More than 50 service providers gathered at the U.S. Vets facility on the east side of March Air Reserve Base last month to discuss, and propose solutions to, the issue of homelessness among military veterans. The summit included representatives from the Veterans Administration; county and city service providers; and non-profit and religious organizations.

Valerie Fioretta, the director of the Airmen and Family Readiness Center at March ARB, represented the base at the meeting and attentively sat in the front row for the entire two-hour summit. Not only was Fioretta able to provide relative information to the meeting about her experiences working with today’s service members, she also gained valuable information about programs she can utilize to better assist her airmen.

“I learned about the HUD VASH program,” she said. “I had not heard about that before.”

The HUD VASH program is a partnership between Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program. The housing authority works to find housing for veterans, and the VA provides funding for the housing. More than 100 formerly homeless veterans have already been housed through the program this year in Riverside County alone.

The VA also used to summit to bring up another important topic facing veterans: suicide. Thomas Darko from the VA gave a presentation to the service providers on what to do if one of the veterans they are working with seems suicidal.

“Transport the veteran to a hospital to get attention,” said Darko. “If that is not possible, call 911 and call the police; not so the veteran gets arrested, but so they get the assistance they need.” He emphasized that certain myths about suicide are not true and need to be corrected. For example, the thought that there is nothing that can be done for someone who is suicidal is a myth, he said.

Many veterans are able to get the help they need and eventually overcome their suicidal thoughts.

Homelessness and suicide are issues that veterans from all branches, wars and generations face. As veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to leave the military and enter the veteran population, there are a multitude of agencies and organizations that stand ready to augment the VA in the arena of veteran care.

“I come to these meetings quarterly to network and meet community partners,” said Fioretta.” I want to make sure I know how to best serve our Airmen.”

Fioretta said that the housing issues are something she deals with every month and that the issue of homelessness does not discriminate.

“Male, female, with kids, without kids, it affects everyone,” she said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lindemann

Team March maintainers refurbish KC-135 Stratotanker in record time

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lindemann Staff Sgt. Caleb Meyer, an active-duty crew chief, and Staff Sgt. Neftali Rivera, an Air Reserve Technician and crew chief, both from the 752nd Maintenance Squadron, screw in th...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan

Johnson assumes command of 56th Aerial Port Squadron

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan Col. Timothy McCoy (left), commander, 452nd Mission Support Group, March Air Reserve Base, passes the guidon to Maj. Mark E. Johnson, commander, 56th Aerial Port Squadron, ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane

Airman, Guardsman recognized as ‘heroes’ in Paris

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone (right), Aleksander Skarlatos (center) and Anthony Sadler pose for a photo in Paris Aug. 23, 2015, following a foiled attack on a French train. Stone was...
 

 
150822-F-RK887-146

Chief Kacsmaryk Retirement

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan Chief Master Sgt. Michael Kacsmaryk, superintendent, 752nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, receives a U.S. flag that was flown over the Capitol, duri...
 
 

The 452nd Air Mobility Wing 2015, 3rd Quarter award winners

Airman of the Quarter – Senior Airman Christian Bojorquez, 452 SFS   NCO of the Quarter – Staff Sgt. Kevin Duffy, 56 APS   SNCO of the Quarter – Senior Master Sgt. Winston Demmin, 452 AMXS   Company Grade Officer of the Quarter – Capt. Dawn Schultz, 452 MDG/752 MDS   (Not pictured) Civilians of...
 
 

Healthy Base Initiative ends, Team March continues concept

The Defense Department’s Healthy Base Initiative is about to end, but the emphasis on health and wellness is merely making a transition. The Healthy Base Initiative, a DOD demonstration project at 14 installations that tested ways to improve the health and wellness of troops, civilians and their families, is ending this month. However, the successful ideas that...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>