Providing a Lifeline: VOA Southeast’s Transitional Housing Program Offers Veterans a Stepping Stone from Homelessness to Stability
The journey out of housing insecurity doesn’t happen in a day: it’s a long path that requires many helping hands. With transitional housing, VOA Southeast is able to offer homeless or at-risk veterans a temporary place to live so they can get the foothold they need to make progress.
“We serve homeless veterans: veterans who are literally living on the streets or in shelters,” says Chad Cheshire, Director of Homelessness and Prevention Services at VOA Southeast. A combat veteran who served in Iraq and who briefly experienced homelessness himself when he left the Army in 2011, Cheshire has unique empathy for veterans and insight into the difficulties they face.
“Our main priority is to get the veteran into housing, get them off the street, and then wrap services around them using a housing first model,” says Cheshire. “And then we also serve veterans who are at risk of homelessness: veterans facing eviction, or they’re behind on their rent and they don’t have the capability to get caught up.”
What is Transitional Housing for Veterans?
Transitional housing is a middle step between the emergency housing of a homeless shelter and permanent affordable housing through a home or an apartment. At a transitional housing residence such as Eagle’s Landing in Mobile, AL, veterans who are facing homelessness get a safe, secure place to live, support services from VOA Southeast, and the benefits of a community of their peers for up to two years (though most residents stay for only 9 to 12 months) while they work with a case worker to seek permanent housing .
How does VOA Southeast Support Veterans through Transitional Housing?
VOA Southeast’s transitional housing program at Eagle’s Landing doesn’t just offer veterans a place to live. It provides them with a variety of support services that help them rebuild their lives, follow through on their obligations, cultivate their financial independence, and re-establish a network of social support from their peers.
Building a New Home after Loss: Michael’s Story
Meet Michael, a 61-year-old Alabama veteran of the United States Marine Corp who, in November 2022 was living out on the streets or occasionally at Waterfront Mission, a homeless shelter in Mobile, AL. Michael had been living in a home owned by his family, but he had to leave when they no longer had room for him.
That’s when VOA Southeast stepped in. Michael began working with a case manager who got him a spot at Eagle’s Landing, VOA Southeast’s transitional housing for veterans facing homelessness.
New Networks of Support
At Eagle’s Landing, Michael received the support he needed to start getting back on his feet. Finding a strong network of social support among the staff and fellow veterans at Eagle’s Landing, Michael began to come out of his shell and take part in activities with the rest of the community – he even helped decorate the community Christmas tree, something he’d never done before.
Within a year, with the support services he received from VOA Southeast, Michael was ready to move into permanent housing at a senior living apartment complex in Semmes, AL in September, 2023. Even after the move, he still comes to group meetings at Eagle’s Landing for community support and he’s completed a Financial Peace University course to help him sustain financial independence.
“Our programs offer case management services that help with ideal living, mental health, and substance abuse,” says Cheshire.
“There’s options once we get them housed to determine what the long term plan is: there’s section 8 vouchers, there are employment programs – we offer an employment program as well where we enroll our homeless veterans to give them long term stability.”
How do I Find Transitional Housing for Veterans Near Me?
Volunteers of America Southeast helps veterans find transitional housing to lift them out of poverty and into stable living situations. For more information on VOA Southeast’s veteran services in Alabama, contact Deborah Murph at (251) 300-3968, and in Georgia, contact Chad Cheshire at (478) 919-2087.
For immediate 24/7 assistance, you can call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-424-3838 (1-877-4AID VET). You can find a full list of VA programs for veterans facing homelessness here, and you can find your local Veterans Service office listed by county on this map.
Integrated Services for VOA Southeast’s Transitional Housing
Stable housing is just the first step to rebuilding. VOA Southeast prides ourselves on a robust suite of integrated programs that assists those we serve in all areas of their lives. VOA Southeast offers further services for veterans in temporary housing who need help with:
- Financial instability
- PTSD and mental illness
- Substance abuse
- Vocational training
- Job placement services
- Professional development
How Does VOA Southeast work with Veteran’s Affairs (VA)?
The VA is VOA Southeast’s biggest partner in finding ways to get veterans the services, resources, and stability they need. VA benefits include pensions, disability compensation, job training and education, help with home loans, health care, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial benefits.
VOA Southeast employees and volunteers work closely with case managers from the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program to help eligible veterans take advantage of all the opportunities the organization has to offer.
What is the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program?
The VA’s Grant and Per Diem (GDP) Program provides funding for community agencies like VOA Southeast that offer support services for veterans who are experiencing homelessness. The GDP also provides case managers who work closely with vets and with the organizations that serve them to help them retain housing once they’ve been placed in a new living situation.
What is the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program?
The Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program prioritizes reaching out to offer medical and other support services to veterans in need. Outreach is often provided through Community Resource and Referral Centers located in large urban areas and through Stand-Downs, one- to three-day community events designed to reach the homeless population in the area.
More FAQs about Transitional Housing for Veterans
Here are answers to some more common questions about transitional housing and related veteran services.
How do I move from transitional housing to permanent housing?
VOA Southeast and the Department of Veterans Affairs work closely with veterans in transitional housing to help them find a permanent place to live. Working with a VA case manager helps vets access resources they previously didn’t know were available, including things such as disability benefits and financial assistance for deposits on housing.
Who is eligible for transitional housing for veterans?
To be eligible for transitional housing, you must be a veteran of the armed forces who was honorably discharged and who is currently facing homelessness. You can find the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs’ guidelines for eligibility here.
We Need You to Fulfill Our Mission
Giving and volunteering are essential to making a difference. Your donations are critical to help Chad Cheshire and all the other dedicated employees and volunteers at VOA Southeast support veterans like Michael throughout Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.
Each year, with your help, we positively impact the lives of over 35,000 people throughout the region by
- Fostering long term stability for veterans
- Enriching the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities
- Promoting ongoing recovery for individuals dealing with substance abuse
- Empowering individuals with mental illness to achieve emotional health
- Helping at-risk children and youth build productive lives
- Facilitating healthy aging for low-income seniors
Make a one-time donation or consider giving monthly to sustain our work. We also accept vehicle donations!