The funds will establish a more intensive discharge planning program as veterans prepare to leave the transitional housing program, where they can reside for up to two years.
Community Hope opened the 70-bed Hope for Veterans Transitional Housing Program in Fall 2004 on two renovated floors in a vacant building on the Lyons Veterans Administration Medical Center Campus in Bernards. Construction is under way to develop an additional 25 beds to accommodate a growing waiting list for the program.
“The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey is proud to partner with Community Hope in serving homeless veterans who are establishing for themselves meaningful lives in the workplace and the community,” said Robert Hyfler, the foundation’s executive director. “As we benefit from their contributions so they must often struggle to live with the scars of their sacrifice. Now more than ever their needs should not be forgotten or ignored.”
The New Jersey Veterans Affairs Healthcare System estimates that as many as 8,300 veterans are homeless in the state on any given night, many suffering from post traumatic stress and other forms of chronic mental illness and substance abuse.
“During their two years in the program, veterans are making tremendous progress, including those who have been cycling in and out of homelessness since their return from the Vietnam War,” said J. Michael Armstrong, Executive Director of Community Hope. “It is immediately before and soon after their graduation from the program that there is the greatest likelihood of relapse.”
The Foundation’s grant will establish an intensive discharge planning program to start preparing veterans for a smooth transition from the transitional housing facility, where there are a range of services and on-site support staff, to independent living in the community, according to Armstrong.
In 2005, Hope for Veterans received both the national Community Partnership Award from the Mutual of America Foundation and the (New Jersey) Governor’s Excellence in Housing Award.
The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey was founded by the Jewish community in 1996 with proceeds from the sale of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center to the Saint Barnabas Health Care System and is dedicated to continuing the founding health mission through philanthropy.