To The Editor,

Each November we recognize our Veterans for their service to our country.  It is important that we continue to reflect on the service these American heroes have provided to our country and make sure that we continue to support them when they are home.  For instance, one day earlier this fall, Robert walked into our building in Boothwyn, tired and fairly dirty, and asked for help.  Robert is a military Veteran who had been living in a tent in Chester and as the weather started to turn colder, his pride ebbed away.  After a brief pre-screening for eligibility, he was turned over to our Veterans’ specialists in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.  Later that same day, Robert was able to sleep in a clean, warm hotel room and we helped to put his fears to rest.

At the Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Inc. (CAADC), we proactively and rapidly rehouse Veterans to give them stability and a path forward.  Robert is now on his way to securing permanent housing through the help of Case Managers at CAADC who coordinate supportive services.  These services include not only help through the Veterans Administration but also other County and State resources that assist homeless Veterans and their families.  On a case-by-case basis, we bring together any services that the Veteran may need including referrals to permanent housing, health care, substance abuse support, public assistance, personal financial planning, legal assistance, child care, transportation and employment.  We also provide time-limited payments to third parties (e.g., landlords, utility companies, moving companies, and licensed child care providers) if these payments help Veterans’ families stay in or acquire permanent housing on a sustainable basis.

Utilizing a the housing first model, CAADC assisted over 100 homeless Veterans last year with emergency shelter, housing referrals, assistance applications and coordinated services. This work has effectively ended Veteran homelessness in Delaware County.  Through a VA-funded grant, the SSVF program, “plays a critical role helping communities build and sustain capacity to prevent a recurrence in Veteran homelessness. Through its unique blend of rapid re-housing and prevention capabilities, SSVF grantees are able to tailor services that meet the specific needs of the community they serve.”

As Americans, it is the least we can do to give back to those who have given so much for this country, for our freedom and for the liberty we all enjoy.  We are proud to be able to serve these Veterans who have given so much for us!

Edward T. Coleman, Chief Executive Officer
Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Inc.