One of the programs that LTHC Homeless Services operates is the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) which is designed to help homeless and at-risk Veteran’s and their families. Unlike the other LTHC programs which are exclusive to Tippecanoe County, the SSVF operates in Clinton, Benton, Carroll, White, Montgomery, Fountain and Tippecanoe Counties. The majority of participants are in the Lafayette and Crawfordsville areas.
LTHC started the SSVF Program in 2013 and expected to serve a handful of military veteran’s, however, the initial expectations were quickly surpassed. There are two Case Managers in the program which served 126 Vets in the last fiscal year. In addition, 34 children were served through this program. The average age of the Vet involved in the program was 38.
Veteran’s face the same issues as non-vets when it comes to homelessness — employment, transportation, physical and/or mental health, and addiction. However, these issues can be intensified by being a Vet who needs help or having to deal with complicated Veteran’s support services. Of the 126 served last year, 80 had physical and/or mental health issues that were a barrier to them getting or keeping housing.
The SSVF Case Managers work on not only linking clients to resources but helping them to navigate what can be very complicated systems. Depending on the home community of the client, he/she might be linked with Veteran’s Courts, the VFW or similar organization, the county’s Veteran’s Resource Officer, and other groups/businesses that support the military.
Often, homeless Vets are skeptical of services and may need repeated contacts by the Case Managers before agreeing to participate in services. The LTHC staff work with various outreach programs to help identify and engage potential clients.