Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Truman VA holds Homeless Summit
In keeping with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki’s belief that “Veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope,” Truman VA hosted an annual Homeless Veterans Summit on Friday, August 2, recognizing all the work the local community and VA staff have done to further the goal of ending Veteran homelessness by 2015.
Leading the event, Sarah Froese, Supervisor, Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR), highlighted the work accomplished by the entire Truman VA Homeless Veterans Programs Team. In addition, awards were presented to Nakhle “Thomas” Asmar, Mid Missouri Legal Services, Veterans United Foundation, Welcome Home, Phoenix Programs, the Columbia Housing Authority, and VFW Post 280. All of the activities undertaken by these people and groups interlock to provide a network of services that assists Veterans who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The work of all the participants who attended the summit, as well as those not formally recognized, has led to the provision of housing for more than 100 homeless Veterans in the Mid-Missouri area. But the work doesn’t end there. Michael Matthews, Mid Missouri Legal Services, noted that, while the legal aid office provides many services and much assistance, volunteer attorneys are needed still to meet demand. Likewise, the Veterans Treatment Court of the 13th Circuit, which was recently established in May 2013, needs Veteran mentors who would be asked to give as little as one hour a week to assist their fellow Veterans in their rehabilitation. For more information on the Homeless Summit, contact Sarah Froese at (573) 814-6648.
On Friday, September 6, Truman VA will host a daylong Community Mental Health Summit in the auditorium. The purpose of the summit is to bring together key stakeholders in the community with the goal of enhancing access to mental health services and addressing the mental health needs of Veterans and their family members in the mid-Missouri area. The summit will provide opportunities for active engagement and dialogue between VA and invited guests including the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Compass Health, the Missouri Veterans Commission, the University of Missouri and several other community organizations and individuals. Examples of specific topics to be discussed include Military Culture and Treatment Implications, Accessing VA Services, Community Based Veteran Care, and an orientation to VA Behavioral Health clinical services. Representatives from congressional staff offices will be attending. Approximately 60 individuals are expected to attend. For more information on the Community Mental Health Summit, contact Tiffany Sanford-Martens, PhD at (573) 814-6272.