Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Finding Their Way Home
Every Veteran should have a home—a safe and stable place they can call their own. For some Veterans, combat experiences have significantly altered their ability to cope with day-to-day life. Disabilities, addiction, and mental illness can be difficult challenges Veterans face that force them to choose between shelter and other basic needs. America's heroes served our country, and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is committed to honor their service with strong efforts to combat homelessness.
Moniquic Eazel is one of those deserving Veterans who found support through the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center’s Homeless Program. While living in Columbia, SC, Ms. Eazel found herself in a difficult situation—in an abusive relationship with three young children and in need of help. Eager to change her life, she reached out to the Homeless Program and has now been successfully engaged in the HUD-VASH housing program for 4 years.
"Since the beginning, the VA has understood my story, taken me under their wing and helped me get to where I am today," she said. "They have given my family a safe and stable home where we can build our future."
The Medical Center's Homeless Program offers Veterans the support services they need to find permanent housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program combines Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The "Housing First" model deployed by the Medical Center enables the facility to do just that—find housing for the Veteran first, and then provide the wrap around services they need to have long term success—services such as, medical treatment, mental health appointments, substance abuse treatment, and housing case management. Last year in fiscal year 14 the Homeless Program housed 422 Veterans through HUD-VASH, giving each of these Veterans a permanent stable place to call home.