The collaborative team of providers, including the VA, housing authorities, and nonprofits who operate across the lower six counties of Mississippi, have been successful in housing and stabilizing 244 Veterans across the area since January 2015. The cities of Gulfport and Biloxi both participated in the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness and were recognized for solidifying partnerships and securing commitments to end Veteran homelessness by December 2015 (visit http://www.biloxi.ms.us/mayors-recognized-for-work-with-homeless-veterans/ to visit the City of Biloxi’s press release). Moving forward, as the collaborative works toward sustaining their progress, it is important to note that while every housing crisis cannot necessarily be prevented, there are now systems and ample financial resources in place to make sure the episode is rare, brief, and non-recurring.
In addition to providing key housing services, HRC has added another significant element to the wraparound services available to Veterans experiencing homelessness on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP) has proven highly effective in helping Veterans overcome obstacles to employment and sustainable housing. Hancock Resource Center connects Veterans in Hancock, Harrison, and Pearl River Counties with employers based upon key skills inventories and employer-specific needs. Homeless Veterans receive occupational, classroom and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance, including follow-up services. These key employment services are critical in the Veteran’s ability to sustain the housing after temporary housing support programs, like SSVF, are exhausted, and thereby increase Veterans’ life chances over the long term.
For more information about these or any HRC programs, please visit www.hancockhrc.org.