Housing for our Homeless Veterans
The Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs estimates that "there are over 1,400 homeless veterans in Oregon on any given night, and many more who are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks and dismal living conditions".
This isn't how we treat our veterans. This must change.
We must work together to provide housing to our homeless veterans, but we must also acknowledge the many varying situations that lead to their homelessness. I will drive for Oregon to establish groups of dedicated social workers and mental health specialists to:
- Conduct outreach and develop individual plans for how to rehome each homeless veteran.
- Provide food, transportation, and retraining as needed to help them get back on their feet.
- Refer homeless veterans to inpatient or outpatient mental health facilities based upon their individual needs.
For those veterans that are referred for mental healthcare, we must also commit to providing swift, effective access to those services. To this end, I will advocate that we create a close working relationship between the Homeless Veteran support group and local mental health facilities around the state, to develop a process to ease the transition of veterans into these facilities.
There will be challenges and roadblocks along the way, but we must work hard to bring these members of our community from a point of crisis to a place of stability and reentry into society. Once we have found success with our homeless veterans, we will be able to expand that model to the greater homeless community. We will know what challenges we'll face and have solutions ready to meet them. And once we find success there, we can be an example for the whole rest of the country.