Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment (SAVE)

Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment (SAVE)

“You give us the call…we’ll give you the answer.”

The fundamental principle of the SAVE program is to advocate for veterans who are not able to obtain the benefits they have earned due to institutional or personal barriers. The program’s primary mission is prevention of suicide and mental health distress through the identification of issues facing veterans when they return from service and proactively providing them with access to benefits and services that may address these issues and result in positive transitions back to civilian life.

SAVE acts as a liaison between veterans and their families and the various agencies within the federal and state governments.

The SAVE team works closely, and in collaboration, with the Massachusetts National Guard. Resources offered by the Massachusetts National Guard and their Family Readiness Program are available to all service members and their families, regardless of the branch in which they serve.

Contact Offices

Boston Office:

SAVE Team
Department of Veterans’ Service
600 Washington St., 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
617-210-5743
Toll-free: 1-888-844-2838
fax: 617-210-5755
save@massmail.state.ma.us

Chelsea Office:

SAVE Team
Chelsea Soldiers’ Home
91 Crest Avenue, Building D
Chelsea, MA 02150
617-210-5743

Holyoke Office:

SAVE Team
Holyoke Soldiers’ Home
110 Cherry Street, Office 065
Holyoke, MA 01040
413-532-9475, then dial ext. 532-1518

Complementary Content

 

Viewpoint: Stand Down Stands Up For Our Veterans

Viewpoint: Stand Down Stands Up For Our Veterans                                                                                  By JAMES SENEY

With his muscular build and short hair, he is perhaps one of the last people anyone would expect to be homeless.

But in the next month, the 22-year-old veteran may lose his apartment and join the ranks of New England’s homeless people.

And he is not alone. One year ago, the former Army private first class was a proud member of Operation Enduring Freedom, completing a one-year deployment in Afghanistan.

Now he wonders if he’ll get a job or, one year from now, where he will live.

Next week in Springfield, the Western Massachusetts Stand Down will be held to help as many of the estimated 3,000 homeless veterans in our region and to prevent veterans believed to be at risk of homelessness from being without a place to live.

The event, held at the Greek Cultural Center in the North End, represents a close partnership with many organizations, including strong leadership from Gumersindo Gomez from the Western Mass Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center, the city of Springfield, the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, and our area’s municipal veteran services officers.

The 2012 Stand Down will take place Friday, Sept. 28, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It provides veterans with a centralized, one-stop approach to receiving resources on the spot, bringing together VA programs and services; community health care providers, including health prevention and wellness resources; counseling services; legal aid; the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles; the Social Security Administration; and many other services, including food, clothing and haircuts.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the current economic downturn and the downsizing of the armed forces are the biggest risk factors for newly demobilized service members, resulting in postwar unemployment, missed rent payments and homelessness. Many, like the 22 year-old former soldier, sleep in their cars, move in for a while with relatives or friends, camp out in the woods, or find a cheap motel room and never come to the attention of state or local authorities. And the new picture of veteran homelessness also includes female veterans with children. Nearly all are unemployed. They want to work but cannot find jobs or at least steady work. Or they have work but cannot find housing they can afford so they end up couch surfing – the practice of temporarily living with a stranger – free of charge.

Most never dreamed they would find themselves in such straits. And their troubles are just starting as fall begins and cold weather will quickly set in. Stand Down, while focused on those veterans at greatest risk of needing services, is also intended for all veterans, including active-duty military members, and their families.

With a tough economy and our nation still in recession, every veteran can benefit from the information and resources shared at Stand Down. Three-and-a-half years ago, an estimated 107,000 veterans were homeless in our nation. The number is now estimated to be less than 60,000 but the VA and our community partners cannot be satisfied until every Veteran who has fought for America has a home in America.

If we are to end the travesty of veteran homelessness, we need a total team approach. Every citizen has a role to play. At a minimum, we’d ask for your help in identifying and referring veterans in need. Every community member can make a difference in reaching out to our veterans. The hardship of homelessness is compounded by the truth that our homeless veterans had once put their lives on the line to serve our country in wars past and present. They deserve the very best support network possible. When we ask our men and women to fight and sacrifice for us in defense of our nation, we make a promise that we will give them the support they need when they come home. The Stand Down offers one way to fulfill that promise. If you know a veteran in need, tell them about Stand Down.


James Seney is the program manager for Community Reintegration Services for the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System.

Click here for more info concerning upcoming Stand Downs.

Homeless and Hungry Veterans in America

The #1 problem that I just cannot wrap my head around and understand is homeless and hungry Veterans in America.  I can’t figure it out.  I just do not understand the whys or the hows about it.  Women and men that fought for our great country are sleeping on the streets, in cardboard shacks and in abandoned cars, AND they are hungry.  Days and weeks go by and these GREAT AMERICAN HEROES are without a hot meal, clean clothes and a shower.  People walk past them on the streets and mutter, “Get a job…”  God knows that these women and men would work if they could only find a job.  Problem is that there’s just no work for anyone.  And too few Americans care about what is happening to our Heroes.  Nothing can make me understand this phenomenon. 

Women Veterans are three time more likely to be at risk of homelessness than non-veteran women.

WHAT?  How can that be?  WHY is this happening?  HOW can this happen?  IS this the way America wants her Veterans to be treated?  What can we do to change this in America?  America is the greatest nation in the World.  America is rich beyond belief, but we have homeless and hungry VETERANS.

I ask each and every one that reads this post to change the statistics and how America treats her Heroes.  I’ll post a bunch of links where YOU can make a difference.  And it’s not all about money either.  Volunteering and giving some of yourself to put an end to hunger and homelessness.  When you don’t have a dollar in your own pocket, you can still give a smile.  Don’t look down on our Street Vets.  A little understanding and a smile goes a LONG way.  If your of the type that prays and believes in a Power Greater than yourself…say a prayer asking Her or Him to help them AND you overcome this problem.  Bring a bag of apples or oranges to a homeless shelter.  Think.  This is our problem, they are our Sisters and Brothers.  Love, compassion, understanding and support are what our Heroes need.  They need a hand up and not a hand out.  Respect.  Dignity.  These are honorable men and women.

I know first hand what it’s like to be without a job and without a home.  I survived the streets of Boston.  I’ve been hungry and alone out there.  I don’t want to go back there.  Most importantly, I do not want my Brothers or Sisters to go through what I went through.

As promised, here are the links for you to consider.  Do what you can, whatever that may be to help.  Thank you.  – J. Barry

Business and Professional Woman’s Foundation – Connect a Vet Resources

Make the Connection – Homelessness – Veterans

Help a Homeless Veteran – VA.gov

For Homeless Women Veterans – VA.gov

The Veterans Site – Feed a Veteran  <– This site will cost you 1 click!

New England Center for Homeless VeteransA Hand UP!  Not a Hand out!

Volunteers of America – Veterans Services

Project Foot – A Charity For Homeless Veterans and Military Families

The Veteran Homestead Inc.

The Jericho Project – Off the Streets – On With Life

Feed Our Vets – Food Pantry

The above links are just a sample of some wonderful ways for you to SUPPORT AND HELP  AMERICA’S HEROES.

 

FEED OUR VETS!

FEED OUR VETSEVERY DAY NEARLY 1000 SOLDIERS, SAILORS AND MARINES BECOME NEW U.S. VETERANS.  1.5 MILLION VETERANS ARE AT RISK OF BECOMING HOMELESS AND BEING HUNGRY.  130,000 VETERANS ARE HOMELESS AND HUNGRY ON ANY GIVEN NIGHT.

The Mission of the Feed Our Vets non-profit food pantry organization is to provide good, nutritious food for Veterans in the United States whose circumstances have left them on the battlefield of hunger.

The Objective of Feed Our Vets non-profit food pantry organization is to have fully stocked veteran food pantries set up in accessible locations all across the country. We support those who have fought for us, by providing food for veterans.

DONATE!

Donate to Feed Our Vets

We need your support because our nation’s military Veterans have served and sacrificed for our freedom. We believe it is our duty to give back to these men and women who have given so much for our country. 100% of your online donation for veterans helps feed hungry and homeless veterans. Too many Veterans are ending up jobless and homeless. Too many are going hungry. Won’t you join us in feeding our homeless and hungry US Veterans today? Donate now to fight Veteran hunger today. Thank you for your kind contribution!

DONATE NOW!

CLICKING HERE WILL OPEN UP A SECURE WINDOW AT THE NETWORK FOR GOOD. THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OUR VETERANS!

PLEASE VISIT THE FEED OUR VETS WEBPAGE, CLICK ON THE LINKS ABOVE OR CLICK HERE: http://www.feedourvets.org/