The Way Home
With generous support from Wells Fargo, The Bob Woodruff Foundation and Columbus House have the six of our veterans seeking housing assistance and other services essential for a successful transition into civilian life.
Shelter is one of our most basic physiological needs. For veterans transitioning back into civilian life, obtaining suitable housing is a critical component in setting up a foundation for success. Columbus House Inc. (CHI) has been working to alleviate housing insecurity since 1982. The Bob Woodruff Foundation, in partnership with Wells Fargo, assists CHI in its goal of helping veterans obtain appropriate long-term housing. Individuals experiencing homelessness are a unique at-risk population. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently concluded that homelessness could lead to additional struggles including an increased prevalence for most medical conditions associated with COVID-19.
“CHI leverages internal resources and external partnerships to ensure that Veteran clients are effectively connected to permanent housing solutions,” CHI Grants Administrator Sarah Hoffman told BWF.
CHI is harnessing the power of collaboration as they pursue their mission to help those in need. One of their important external partnerships is with the VA, specifically, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development VA Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH). This program expands the pool of potential housing options for veterans by providing rental assistance vouchers to housing that is privately owned.
Another example of CHI’s work to help veterans can be seen through their renovation of the Mary Shepherd Home. The building was originally constructed as a dormitory for nurses in 1924 but was eventually abandoned. In 2018, CHI broke ground on an ambitious renovation project to provide additional housing options for veterans.
“CHI developed this formerly abandoned building, located on the Connecticut Valley Hospital campus in Middletown, into 32 units of supportive housing with a preference for veterans,” Hoffman explained.
While reliable housing is an essential first step to help stabilize life for transitioning veterans, CHI understands that ensuring success requires a well-rounded approach.
“CHI offers an array of support services designed to help clients increase income and maintain stable housing indefinitely,” Hoffman said.
Veterans enrolled in CHI services receive assistance with acquiring employment. This includes assistance with writing résumés, conducting job searches, and preparing for job interviews. CHI can also act as an intermediary for its clients by helping with essential tasks like helping a client stay up to date on paying their bills. Veterans are also provided with assistance in navigating the complex landscape of federal benefits they are entitled to including Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance Outreach Access, and Recovery.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation has built a national network comprised of leading organizations focused on helping veterans. Our funding is supporting what Columbus House has identified as the four greatest areas of need for their population not fully covered by their federal funding: food insecurity, transportation, basic needs, and education/training. By supplementing existing resources, BWF is maximizing assistance to veterans.
Our investment in CHI is being applied in multiple ways that are directly helping veterans including:
- Groceries for clients moving into homes
- Food for SSVF clients currently residing in hotels awaiting housing placement
- Car-related expenses and transportation
- Medical and dental expenses
- Mortgage and rental assistance
- Tutors for children
- Internet services
- Hardware and other tech needed for employment