Friends of Nevada County Military and Hospitality House have come together to fulfill their commitment to local Veterans by introducing a new Homeless Veterans Housing Program to the community—just in time for Veterans Day. The program is principally designed to provide housing assistance and homelessness prevention to Veterans and their families, but it also includes safety net care, such as emergency shelter, food, case management, job training, mental health counseling and transportation as needed.

“Since our founding in 2004, Friends of Nevada County Military focused on supporting troops from Nevada County deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. We have also supported their families,” said Fred Buhler, founder and current president of Friends of Nevada County Military. “In 2013 we shifted our attention to working with Veterans from all conflicts here in our community. Recognizing the challenge of helping homeless Veterans, for several years our board has explored how FNCM might help. We stand ready to partner with Hospitality House to provide housing for homeless Veterans.”

Hospitality House has served homeless Veterans for the last 15 years, but the new program expands capacity to create even greater, lasting impact. With rising rents amid a housing market with few affordable options, the Homeless Veterans Housing Program will give homeless Veterans a leg up by providing first and last month’s rent, plus security deposit funds if needed. The program also helps to prevent homelessness by offering financial support to maintain their housing. Expenses like past due rent, utility bills or mounting healthcare payments can set a person on the wrong trajectory and this funding can help bridge any financial gaps.

More than just an emergency shelter, Hospitality House offers specialized case management and wraparound services. These services provide individualized support that helps homeless Vets where they are personally. Extensive outreach takes place daily on the streets and in camps, and sadly, the streets are where most local homeless Veterans survive.

“Because of COVID-19, Veterans have been less inclined to shelter with us,” explained Joe Naake, outreach manager at Hospitality House. “Congregate living and sheltering in place are barriers right now, especially when you factor in PTSD, mental illness or substance use, common attributes among our homeless Veteran community. The new program will help us rapidly move more Veterans directly from the streets into permanent supportive housing.”

Once housed, case management services from Hospitality House continue for as long as needed. In 2019, Hospitality House served 56 local homeless Veterans, making up 9.3 percent of the entire homeless population served by the nonprofit. Forty-three percent of those served reported struggling with mental illness—a number that has soared to 58 percent in 2020, exemplifying the need to provide more help.

“Our Veterans put their lives on the line when serving our Country,” said Buhler. “This program is a way to fulfill our commitment to our Veterans. Our homeless Veterans face an uphill battle. This program will help ensure it’s a battle they’ll win. We are hopeful others will join us in this effort.”

All donations made to Hospitality House provide shelter and care for homeless Veterans as well as care for homeless men, women, children and Seniors. To support the new Homeless Veterans Housing Program specifically, community members may make a donation to Hospitality House at hhshelter.org/donate and write “Veterans” in the comments, or send a check payable to Hospitality House at 1262 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945 and write “Veterans” in the memo.