Challenges do not arise in a vacuum. It is exceedingly rare for a veteran to have one issue and be good-to-go otherwise. Benefits, access to medical care, career and education goals, family issues, and financial well-being are inextricably entwined. In order to address one issue, you must assess all needs, coordinate services with other providers, and leverage community-based care with federal resources.
Veterans are likely to focus on the most pragmatic need in the moment, such as employment, financial assistance, or housing. It is then, through the delivery of services, that providers may establish trust and respond to other needs, including mental health, substance issues, and trauma.
Swords to Plowshares is fortunate enough to be in a service-rich environment and offer an array of services under one organizational roof: Legal assistance in VA claims and discharge review matters, employment and training services, drop-in mental health, rapid re-housing and eviction prevention, and supportive housing. Even with that breadth of services, we rely on community partners to provide for needs we cannot meet. Many veteran community-based organizations (CBO)s offer an array of services. And still, some veterans may prefer to seek services from community-based agencies. This is why providers should connect deeply with the community to fill gaps.