Penn State alumna, Cara Colantuono went on to start Support Homeless Veterans (SHV) — a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending homelessness among U.S. veterans in the Philadelphia region. Nation wide the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development stated there are over 37,000 veterans that are homeless in any given night.
“She believed that our veterans are the heart and soul of the nation.” “Thanking veterans for their service isn’t enough. We can’t expect men and women who have spent years in military systems to simply adjust to civilian life — it’s really up to our communities to care for them.”
In her role at Impact Services, Cara Colantuono worked with veterans in the organization’s transitional housing program who had dual diagnoses; meaning they suffered from drug or alcohol addiction, as well as conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. She noticed that while temporary transitional housing programs were a great resource, they often fell short in fully supporting veterans with dual diagnoses.
“Once the veterans left transitional housing and went out on their own, they would relapse because they just weren’t ready to be alone,” she said. “Sometimes transitional housing isn’t enough for veterans with more complicated backgrounds — they need more.”
Support Homeless Veterans (SHV), was founded to provide long-term, family-oriented living for homeless veterans in the Philadelphia region. Alternative housing options for veterans in need, including transitional programs, shelters and boarding homes don’t provide the ‘family atmosphere’ that’s really required to combat ongoing mental health and addiction issues.
Camaraderie is a major part of being in the military. People join the military because they are willing to would ‘die for their country’ but they stay because they would ‘die for one another’. The same theory applies here. The veterans in a stable home environments support one another.
Since its founding in 2011, Support Homeless Veterans (VHV) has housed more than 100 veterans and served approximately 750 through its other programs. Currently, the nonprofit has six active homes that support 22 veterans. Initial story written by Michael McDade, February 07, 2017
The tiny houses project was started by the Veteran Community Project (VCP). Former Missouri Secretary of State and former U.S. Army Intel Officer Jason Kander, decided he was going to do something after he personally ran into some of the road blocks of seeking help from suffering from his P.T.S.D. (post-traumatic stress disorder). He had connections and he still had problems, so a normal veterans with problems really suffers.
Tiny houses might work in rural or suburban area, but communities must be willing to accept them. Some communities push back. In a large city like Philadelphia abandoned buildings could be converted in apartments with common areas on the lower levels. Right now, rising living cost are driving veterans into the streets.