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Services available to help make sure no veterans need to be homeless

Updated: Tuesday, March 4 2014, 06:27 PM CST
Reported by Donna Kirker Morgan:

LEBANON -- After a veteran walks into the Lebanon VA Medical Center after living in her car with 27 pets for a month, CBS 21 wanted to learn what services are out there for veterans.

We were told that the Lebanon VA Medical Center is truly making in-roads into combating homelessness among our vets.

Tuesday we talked with Al Cohen, a Navy Vietnam Veteran whose life slowly fell apart and for two years he lived on the streets.

He says it was due to depression, lack of employment, short term employment and substance abuse.

But Al is now an example of how the VA can also help to put lives back together, which they will try to do for the veteran who lived  a month in a car with 27 pets.  She finally walked through the doors of the Lebanon VA.

"Every homeless veteran has their own unique story," stated Chris Hoffman, Director of the Social Work Team at the Lebanon VA.

He estimates that there are 600 homeless veterans in the nine counties the VA serves in this region.

They can't talk about the recent case due to privacy rules, but we wanted to know what they do to find other veterans who may be living in cars or on the streets.

"We find them in the communities, do outreach to soup kitchens, shelters, and street outreach," Hoffman continued.

That's the sole job of 15 social workers, but someday they hope that not one veteran will be homeless and that means reaching them before they become homeless, which is an incredible task.

Hoffman said every veteran is screened by a care team which completes a regular analysis for risk of homelessness.

Cohen says there are many new services for veterans facing depression and unemployment compared to when he left the Navy.  He says veterans should certainly seek help if they need it.

If you are a veteran who needs help, the VA Hotline is 877-424-3838.
Services available to help make sure no veterans need to be homeless

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