The SUS Veterans Fund was established to enhance SUS’ direct support services and ensures that veterans receive the care and benefits they deserve. Currently, SUS provides a full spectrum of support and treatment services daily to nearly 250 veterans, ages 25 to 75, spanning all branches of military service, from the Korean War through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. SUS provides the following veteran support services:
- Supportive Housing for previously homeless veterans living with a mental illness;
- Mental & Physical Wellness Programs: Wellness Self-Management/ Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment/ Trauma- Informed Care/Substance Abuse Counseling/Diabetes Management;
- Employment Services: work readiness skills training, coaching, career counseling, and competitive job placement with supports.
The situation of our returning vets has gone largely unimproved over the last 40 years. Since 9/11, 2.2million Americans have served our country in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan. 40,000 have been wounded, and 6,000 have made the ultimate sacrifice. Veterans returning to New York State from Iraq and Afghanistan have considerable unmet mental health needs. Issues facing veterans include legal problems, physical injuries, mental illness and substance abuse, homelessness, unemployment, and problems with family, marital and persona relationships. 1 out of 5 returning veterans suffer from PTSD or some form of mental depression, the suicide rate for veterans is twice the national average and veteran unemployment in nearly 50% higher than for the nation as a whole.
Women veterans are more likely to be homeless and twice as likely to be unemployed. While PTSD is faced by 1 in 3 vets, Military Sexual Trauma is a reality for 40% of homeless Iraq and Afghanistan female veterans.
All donations to the Veterans Fund will support the following initiatives:
- SUS Veteran Families Care Coordination Program, which provides outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits, assistance in obtaining and coordinating other public benefits, and making financial assistance payments on behalf of Veterans for purposes such as rent payments, utility payments, security deposits and moving costs.
- SUS Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, which integrates homeless veterans into the workforce by providing employment and training services, specifically for female veterans and veterans with dependent children, as well as for the greater population of homeless vets.
- SUS Knickerbocker Transitional Housing Program, which is the principal agency residence program dedicated to veterans. Knickerbocker, opened in 1995, provides housing and supportive services to 48 veterans, living with serious mental illnesses and chemical addictions.
- SUS Veteran Support Services provides a full spectrum of support and treatment services daily to nearly 300 veterans, ages 25 to 75, spanning all branches of military service, Korean War through Operation Iraqi Freedom. Service includes supportive housing, mental and physical wellness programs, employment services, and coordination of entitlements.
SUS has recently been awarded $1.7million in grants to expand our Veterans Services, a testament to the quality of the services we provide;
- $360,000, both a competitive renewal of our existing program serving female veterans and veterans with dependent children as well as a second award targeted to the greater population of homeless vets by the United States Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, as part of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP). HVRP is a critical element of the Department of Labor’s strategy to integrate homeless veterans into the workforce. SUS is proud to be partnering with Easter Seals New York on this important new initiative.
- $920,000 contract by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as part of the New York/New York III agreement to provide supportive services to formerly homeless Veterans residing inHELP USA’s Genesis Neighborhood Plaza II, a new permanent housing program in East New York, Brooklyn scheduled to open in December, 2011.
- $507,000 award from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as part of the new Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. The SSVF Program is a critical element of VA’s plan to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans, promoting housing stability among homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families.